Local effects of blue mussels around turbine foundations in an ecosystem model of Nysted off-shore wind farm, Denmark

Marie Maar, Karsten Bolding, Jens Kjerulf Petersen, Jørgen L S Hansen, Karen Timmermann

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The development of off-shore wind farms along the coastline of north-west Europe is rapidly increasing; it is therefore important to study how this will affect the marine environment. The present study modelled the growth and feed-backs of blue mussels in natural beds and on turbine foundations in an off-shore wind farm (OWF) located in a shallow coastal ecosystem by coupling a dynamic energy budget (DEB) model to a small-scale 3D hydrodynamic-biogeochemical model. The model results showed that blue mussels located higher up in the water column on turbine pillars achieved a 7-18 times higher biomass than those located on the scour protection because the former experience an enhanced advective food supply. Secondly, the high biomasses of blue mussels on foundations created local 'hot spots' of biological activity and changed ecosystem dynamics due to their feed-backs e.g. ingestion of microplankton and copepods, excretion of ammonium and egestion of faecal pellets. The model results were supported by field measurements around foundations of Chl a concentrations and biomasses of the fauna community. Our study emphasised that OWFs seem to be particularly favourable for blue mussels in the western Baltic Sea and that the functioning of the OWFs as artificial reef ecosystems depends upon how the blue mussels interact with their local pelagic and benthic environment. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sea Research
Issue number2-3
Pages (from-to)159-174
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Oceanography
  • Artificial Reef
  • Blue Mussels
  • DEB-Model
  • Depletion
  • Wind Farm
  • artificial reef
  • benthic environment
  • biomass
  • bivalve
  • ecosystem dynamics
  • energy budget
  • fecal pellet
  • food supply
  • growth modeling
  • ingestion rate
  • marine environment
  • microplankton
  • pelagic environment
  • three-dimensional modeling
  • water column
  • wind farm
  • Atlantic Ocean
  • Baltic Sea
  • Denmark
  • Eurasia
  • Europe
  • Northern Europe
  • Scandinavia
  • Copepoda
  • Mytilus edulis


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