Tidal Energy: The benthic effects of an operational tidal stream turbine

J.P.J. O'carroll, R.M. Kennedy, Angus Creech, G. Savidge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The effect of modified flow on epifaunal boulder reef communities adjacent to the SeaGen, the world's first grid-compliant tidal stream turbine, were assessed. The wake of the SeaGen was modelled and the outputs were used in conjunction with positional and substrate descriptor variables, to relate variation in epifaunal community structure to the modified physical environment. An Artificial Neural Network (ANN) and Generalised Linear Model (GLM) were used to make predictions on the distribution of Ecological Status (ES) of epifaunal communities in relation to the turbulent wake of the SeaGen. ES was assigned using the High Energy Hard Substrate (HEHS) index. ES was largely High throughout the survey area and it was not possible to make predictions on the spatial distribution of ES using an ANN or GLM. Spatial pattern in epifaunal community structure was detected when the study area was partitioned into three treatment areas: area D1; within one rotor diameter (16 m) of the centre of SeaGen, area D2; between one and three rotor diameters, and area D3; outside of three rotor diameters. Area D1 was found to be significantly more variable in terms of epifaunal community structure, bare rock distributions and ES than areas D2 and D3.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-290
JournalMarine Environmental Research
Early online date15 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017


Dive into the research topics of 'Tidal Energy: The benthic effects of an operational tidal stream turbine'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this