Press release

Pioneering environmental studies, recognized by the international scientific community

Saint-Brieuc / Paris – March 3  2023 – 

  • The noise monitoring measurement campaign on scallops represents a world first for marine biology research.
  • PLos One and Limnology & Oceanography Methods , two international scientific publications, have validated the protocols for measuring the effects of noise on scallops. 
  • These measurements were carried out by independent scientists before and during the installation work on the constituent elements of the offshore wind farm in the Bay of Saint-Brieuc. 
  • Full results and conclusions will be published within a few months. 
  • These protocols will serve as a reference framework for studies that will be carried out on identical themes in the future. 
  • A doctoral thesis in marine biology provides new scientific knowledge on the effects of noise on scallops and clams.
  • Furthermore, the first results have been recorded on avifauna (birds) monitoring by telemetry on Northern Gannets.
03
March
23

A world first for marine biology research

In 2018, at the request of the Côtes d'Armor Departmental Committee for Maritime Fisheries and Marine Farming (CDPMEM22), Ailes Marines undertook additional studies on the impact of noise on scallops, clams and lobsters. , during the installation phase of the Saint-Brieuc offshore wind farm.
These scientific studies were conducted by Dr. Laurent Chauvaud, research director at the CNRS (LEMAR/ BeBEST ), Prof. Frédéric Olivier from the National Museum of Natural History (BOREA/BeBEST) and Dr. Delphine Mathias ( SOMME / BeBEST) and recently Dr. Mathilde Gigot who defended her thesis at the University of Western Brittany on this theme.

These scientific studies took place over 24 months in the laboratory and in situ between 2018 and 2020 and continued during the installation work phase of the park in 2021 and 2022.

This study campaign of noise monitoring measurements on scallops represents a world first for research in marine biology. It has indeed made it possible to develop an innovative monitoring method and to acquire new knowledge on the biology and behavior of this species. Saint-Brieuc remains to this day the only offshore wind farm to have implemented such a system for monitoring and evaluating noise emissions before and during the construction phase of the project.

This is why, at the request of the project leader of the Calvados offshore wind farm, Ailes Marines , Laurent Chauvaud, Frédéric Olivier and Delphine Mathias presented to Norman professional fishermen, the studies of noise monitoring measurements on Saint John's shells. -Jacques carried out before and during the work on the Saint-Brieuc offshore wind farm. This meeting was held on January 6, 2023 in Port-en-Bessin (14).  

Protocols for measuring the effects of noise on scallops approved by the scientific community 

Plos One and Limnology & Oceanography Methods, two international scientific publications, have approved the methodology and protocol for measuring the effects of noise on scallops. Frédéric Olivier, Mathilde Gigot, Delphine Mathias, Youenn Jezequel, Tarik Meziane, Christophe L'Her, Laurend Chauvaud, Julien Bonnel published in February 2023 in Limonology & Oceanography Methods an article entitled “Evaluating the impacts of anthropogenic sounds on the early stages of benthic invertebrates: the larvosonic system ”. The scientists conclude that the larvosonic system constitutes an effective tool for bioacoustic research on bentho-planktonic invertebrate species. The larvosonic system was designed, developed and tested by scientists. It consists of a plexiglass tank allowing both larval breeding and the diffusion of known sounds not distorted by the tank itself. This system was implemented at Tinduff (Plougastel – 29) within the scallop hatchery.

On January 11, 2023, Elie Retailleau, Arthur Chauvaud, Gaetan Richard, Delphine Mathias, Laurent Chauvaud, Sarah Reynaud, Jerom Mars, Sylvain Chauvaud published in the journal Plos One an article entitled “ The night life of scallops (Pecten maximus , L.): first description of their natural daily valve opening cycle ”. This pioneering study on the behavior of scallops carried out in 2021 in the bay of Saint-Brieuc, led by the SOMME design office, made it possible to characterize the activity of the shells for several weeks, through their valve movements.
The results and conclusions of monitoring measurements on noise on scallops will be the subject of scientific publications within a few months.

A doctoral thesis in marine biology provides new  scientific knowledge

In October 2022, Mathilde Gigot defended her thesis “ Characterization of the acoustic impact of piling and drilling works associated with offshore wind constructions on the larval stages of the marine bivalves Pecten maximus and Venus verrucosa ”. 

This thesis , funded by the CNRS, was carried out under the direction of Laurent Chauvaud (LEMAR), Julien Bonnel (WHOI) and Frédéric Olivier (BOREA). Ailes Marines provided funding for carrying out laboratory experiments as part of the IMPAIC .

This scientific doctoral thesis (UBO) aimed to evaluate the impact of noise of anthropogenic origin on the larval stages of two species of bivalves: the scallop Pecten maximus and the clam Venus verrucosa , and more particularly the effect of noise of driving and drilling on the parameters of larval development. 

The work concludes that survival rates among scallop larvae and post-larvae are always greater than 96% for a 4-day exposure. The biology of the animal is modified in very small proportions during these experiments.

First results on avifauna (birds) monitoring by telemetry on Northern Gannets

As part of the wind farm project in the bay of Saint Brieuc, Ailes Marines had environmental design offices carry out numerous observations during 5 years of monitoring. More than fifty different species have been identified in the area where the wind farm is located and its surroundings.

Ailes Marines has set up species monitoring using telemetry, consisting of equipping gannets with a GPS beacon. This beacon transmits the position of the bird live. As part of the Saint-Brieuc project, this beacon is used to trace the movements of Northern Gannets under the direction of Dr David Gremillet Research Director CNRS Population Spatial Ecology Team.

The first results show that the Gannets do not favor the park area but concentrate their movement near the coast and in the English Channel. 

All information concerning the Saint-Brieuc offshore wind farm project developed by the company Ailes Marines is available on the website www.ailes-marines.bzh

Ailes Marines news on twitter @AilesMarines

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About Ailes Marines

Winner of a national call for projects with the Saint-Brieuc Bay offshore wind farm project, AILES MARINES is in charge of the development, construction, installation and operation of the offshore wind farm. It is a simplified joint stock company (SAS), 100% owned by IBERDROLA. The key figures of the Saint-Brieuc Bay offshore wind project:

  • 75 km2 of area
  • 62 Siemens Gamesa SG 8.0-167 DD 8 MW wind turbines
  • 496 MW of installed power
  • 1,820 GWh/year of production, i.e. the annual electricity consumption of 835,000 inhabitants (heating included)

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