< Back to previous page


Feeding behaviour of lesser weever (Echiichthys vipera) and dab (Limanda limanda) in the C-Power wind farm

Book - Report

This chapter focuses on the feeding behaviour of lesser weever (Echiichthys vipera) and dab (Limanda limanda) in and around the C-Power wind farm. To find out if the presence of wind farms is influencing the feeding behaviour of both demersal fish, stomach content analyses were performed for both demersal fish species originating from the wind farm and from a nearby control area. Results on stomach fullness, frequency of occurrence and numerical percentage of prey taxa, prey diversity and prey species composition are discussed. The fullness index and prey diversity of lesser weever was not affected by the presence of the wind farm. However, the diet composition did change: lesser weever consumed significantly more of the species Jassa herdmani - which is typically associated with hard substrates and highly available in the wind farm- in both the control and to a greater extent in the impact area. The fullness index of dab also displayed no significant differences. The prey diversity and the diet composition of dab however, were influenced by the presence of the wind farm. The ampipods Nototropis swammerdamei and J. herdmani and the tube-building polychaete Lanice conchilega were responsible for those differences. The latter species is a well-known ecosystemengineer with the potential to enhance habitat complexity and heterogeneity. Its presence might have led to a significant higher prey diversity in the wind farm and hence in the diet of dab. The differences in feeding behaviour between wind farm and control area can in part be related to the presence of the wind farm, its associated fauna and the expanding reef effect.
Series: Environmental impacts of offshore wind farms in the Belgian part of the North Sea: Environmental impact monitoring reloaded.
Number of pages: 23
Publication year:2016