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Residency and habitat use of European lobster (Homarus gammarus) within an offshore wind farm

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Pip MooreORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. As offshore wind energy developments increase globally in response to climate change, it is important to gain an understanding of the effects they are having on the marine environment. Whilst there is growing information on the types of organisms present within these sites, our knowledge of how species interact with these sites is limited. For the first time we examined the movements and habitat utilization of a temperate decapod, the European Lobster Homarus gammarus, using acoustic telemetry within an offshore wind farm (OWF). Innovasea V9 acoustic transmitters were externally attached to 33 individuals (carapace length = 87-113 mm) at three turbine locations within an offshore wind farm in the Irish Sea. Individuals were found to exhibit high residency to the tagging sites, with over half of tagged lobsters present at the tagging sites for 70% of the study period. Individual home ranges and core territories were calculated using 95% and 50% kernel density, respectively. Home ranges ranged from 9313.76 to 23 156.48m2 while core territories ranged from 1084.05 to 6037.38m2. Over 50% of all detections were recorded within 35 m of the scour protection. These results suggest that particular areas of habitat within fixed-turbine OWFs provide a suitable habitat for lobsters. We postulate that this is likely the result of artificial reef effects arising from the addition of artificial hard substate into previously soft sediment dominated habitats. Therefore, future fixed-turbine OWF developments across Europe may provide potential fishery opportunities as a result of artificial reef effects.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Thatcher H, Stamp T, Wilcockson D, Moore PJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: ICES Journal of Marine Science

Year: 2023

Volume: 80

Issue: 5

Pages: 1410-1421

Print publication date: 01/07/2023

Online publication date: 27/04/2023

Acceptance date: 03/04/2023

Date deposited: 27/07/2023

ISSN (print): 1054-3139

ISSN (electronic): 1095-9289

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/icesjms/fsad067


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Funder referenceFunder name
European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)