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National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis

Project Description

Extensive development of offshore wind energy infrastructure (OWI) is planned for the Gulf of Mexico (GoM). This project aims to facilitate strategic, science-based OWI planning by evaluating its potential impacts on fish and fisheries. To do so, we will synthesize data related to the potential artificial reef effect and exclusion zone effect from OWI. In particular, we propose analyses of fisheries data related to artificial reefs, oil and gas infrastructure, and marine protected areas as proxies to understand and predict OWI impacts. These analyses will inform our development of ecosystem models for GoM OWI using Ecopath with Ecosim and Ecospace, which will leverage mission overlap with NOAA’s Southeast Fisheries Science Center, Integrated Ecosystem Assessment Program, and Restore Science Program. Our data syntheses and ecosystems models will be co-developed and guided by working group members who represent the broad diversity of scientific, manager, and industry stakeholders in OWI. Informed with these data and models, our transdisciplinary NCEAS working group will work with key stakeholders to co-develop conceptual assessments, identify critical uncertainties, and direct the pathways to investigate them. Our project presents a timely opportunity to set research priorities, co-design empirical experiments, and direct monitoring efforts before the forthcoming construction and operation of GoM OWI.

Principal Investigator(s)

Holden Harris, Willem Klajbor

Project Dates

Start: October 1, 2023

End: June 30, 2025



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