Steven Degraer

Steven Degraer
Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences · Operational Directorate Natural Environment

R. Belg. Inst. Nat. Sciences

About

250
Publications
84,346
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7,584
Citations
Citations since 2017
23 Research Items
3492 Citations
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20172018201920202021202220230100200300400500600
20172018201920202021202220230100200300400500600

Publications

Publications (250)
Article
Full-text available
The rapid development of blue economy and human use of offshore space triggered the concept of co-location of marine activities and is causing diverse local pressures on the environment. These pressures add to, and interact with, global challenges such as ocean acidification and warming. This study investigates the combined pressures of climate cha...
Article
Offshore renewables (OR), such as offshore wind farms, are a key pillar to address increasing energy demands and the global transition to a carbon-free power sector. The transition to ever more occupied marine spaces, often facilitated by marine spatial planning (MSP), increases the conflict potential with free ranging marine sectors such as fisher...
Article
Full-text available
Bats undertaking seasonal migration between summer roosts and wintering areas can cross large areas of open sea. Given the known impact of onshore wind turbines on bats, concerns were raised on whether offshore wind farms pose risks to bats. Better comprehension of the phenology and weather conditions of offshore bat migration are considered as res...
Article
Full-text available
Subtidal natural hard substrates (SNHS) promote occupancy by rich benthic communities that provide irreplaceable and fundamental ecosystem functions, representing a global priority target for nature conservation and recognised in most European environmental legislation. However, scientifically validated methodologies for their quantitative spatial...
Article
Over 30 years (1985–2018) of environmental monitoring data in the Belgian part of the North Sea allowed us to study common and individual species trends within three spatially distinct demersal and benthopelagic fish assemblages in relation to climate related variability. A combination of multivariate (dynamic factor analysis) and univariate modell...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The aim of the Working Group on Marine Benthal and Renewable Energy Developments (WGMBRED) is to increase scientific exchange and efficiency of benthal renewable energy related research. In 2019–2021, the group discussed guidelines for data collection and methodologies and developed an integrated example dataset on benthos data of marine renewable...
Article
Full-text available
Offshore wind farms (OWFs) act as artificial reefs, attracting high abundances of fish, which could potentially increase their local production. This study investigates the feeding ecology of fish species that abundantly occur at artificial habitats, such as OWFs, by examining the short-and the long-term dietary composition of five species: the ben...
Book
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This report, targeting marine scientists, marine managers and policy makers, and offshore wind farm developers, presents an overview of the scientific findings of the Belgian offshore wind farm environmental monitoring programme (WinMon.BE), based on data collected up to and including 2019.
Article
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Offshore wind farms (OWFs) in the North Sea are proliferating, causing alterations in local ecosystems by adding artificial hard substrates into naturally soft-bottom areas. These substrates are densely colonized by fouling organisms, which may compete for the available resources. While the distribution of some species is restricted to specific par...
Article
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In 2015, we collected more than 60 000 scavenging amphipod specimens during two expeditions to the Clarion–Clipperton fracture zone (CCZ) in the Northeast (NE) Pacific and to the DISturbance and re-COLonisation (DisCOL) experimental area (DEA), a simulated mining impact disturbance proxy in the Peru Basin in the Southeast (SE) Pacific. Here, we com...
Article
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Ecosystem-based management requires an assessment of the cumulative effects of human pressures and environmental change. The operationalization and integration of cumulative effects assessments (CEA) into decision-making processes often lacks a comprehensive and transparent framework. A risk-based CEA framework that divides a CEA in risk identifica...
Article
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Understanding the influence of man-made infrastructures on fish population dynamics is an important issue for fisheries management. This is particularly the case because of the steady proliferation of offshore wind farms (OWFs). Several flatfish species are likely to be affected because areas with OWFs in place or planned for show a spatial overlap...
Article
Full-text available
Several bat species are known to migrate long distances between summer and winter roosts. During migration, many bats even cross the North Sea. The developments of offshore wind farms in the North Sea could therefore pose a collision risk for migrating bats. While bats have been observed inside offshore wind farms, their activity at turbine rotor h...
Article
Full-text available
In 2015, we have collected more than 60,000 scavenging amphipod specimens during two expeditions to the Clarion-Clipperton fracture Zone (CCZ), in the Northeast (NE) Pacific and to the DISturbance and re-COLonisation (DisCOL) Experimental Area (DEA), a simulated mining impact disturbance proxy in the Peru basin, Southeast (SE) Pacific. Here, we com...
Article
Full-text available
Commercially available automated bat identification software packages are widely used in environmental studies to identify bat species from recordings of bat echolocation calls. Caution is, however, needed if the results are used without further verification, as the programs do not guarantee that the results are correct, and wrong species identific...
Article
Full-text available
The European flat oyster, Ostrea edulis, is an emblematic and ecologically important species that was fished to virtual extinction in Belgian and Dutch waters in the 19th century. We report on recent findings of live specimens in Belgian and Dutch waters, an indication for the presence of O. edulis in these waters. Though small, these relict popula...
Article
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During recent surveys of hard substrata biofouling communities in Belgian marine waters we discovered specimens of the invasive barnacle Balanus glandula. This species is new to the European marine fauna. The species was first encountered in July 2015 in a biofouling community on RV Belgica. In October 2016, the species proved to be common on navig...
Article
In the frame of the COST ACTION ‘EMBOS’ (Development and implementation of a pan-European Marine Biodiversity Observatory System), coverage of intertidal macroalgae was estimated at a range of marine stations along the European coastline (Subarctic, Baltic, Atlantic, Mediterranean). Based on these data, we tested whether patterns in macroalgal dive...
Article
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Examining how variability in population abundance and distribution is allotted among different spatial scales can inform of processes that are likely to generate that variability. Results of studies dealing with scale issues in marine benthic communities suggest that variability is concentrated at small spatial scales (from tens of centimetres to f...
Book
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With environmental scientists, social scientists, policy makers, marine managers and industries around the table, the North Sea Open Science Conference succeeded in collating a high level of cross-disciplinary expertise and cross-sectoral interests. All participants were indispensable for a unique science-policy-society trialogue in search for answ...
Article
Coastal ecosystems are highly complex and driven by multiple environmental factors. To date we lack scientific evidence for the relative contribution of natural and anthropogenic drivers for the majority of marine habitats in order to adequately assess the role of different stressors across the European seas. Such relationship can be investigated b...
Article
The question whether coexistence of marine renewable energy (MRE) projects and marine protected areas (MPAs) is a common spatial policy in Europe and how a number of factors can affect it, has been addressed by empirical research undertaken in eleven European marine areas. Policy drivers and objectives that are assumed to affect coexistence, such a...
Article
Full-text available
Within the COST action EMBOS (European Marine Biodiversity Observatory System) the degree and variation of the diversity and densities of soft-bottom communities from the lower intertidal or the shallow subtidal was measured at 28 marine sites along the European coastline (Baltic, Atlantic, Mediterranean) using jointly agreed and harmonized protoco...
Article
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Studying offshore natural and artificial hard substrates in the southern North Sea (51ºN–57ºN/1ºW–9ºE), the invasive introduced Japanese skeleton shrimp Caprella mutica Schurin, 1935 was found to co-exist with the native Caprella linearis (Linnaeus, 1767) only on near-shore locations that had an intertidal zone (e.g., wind farm foundations). In con...
Article
As part of the energy transition, the French government is planning the construction of three offshore wind farms in Normandy (Bay of Seine and eastern part of the English Channel, north-western France) in the next years. These offshore wind farms will be integrated into an ecosystem already facing multiple anthropogenic disturbances such as mariti...
Technical Report
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The construction and operation of marine renewable energy developments (MREDs) will lead to, among other things, the emission of electromagnetic fields (EMF), underwater sound, and vibrations into the marine environment. Knowledge on these pressures and associated effects has been increasing over the past decade. Yet, many open questions with regar...
Research
Full-text available
First observation of parti-coloured bat Vespertilio murinus in the Belgian part of the North Sea
Article
Underwater sound generated by pile driving during construction of offshore wind farms is a major concern in many countries. This paper reports on the acoustic stress responses in young European sea bass Dicentrarchus labrax (68 and 115 days old), based on four in situ experiments as close as 45 m from a pile driving activity. As a primary stress re...
Article
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In recent years, offshore wind energy in the shelf seas of the southern North Sea is experiencing a strong growth. Foundations are introduced in mainly sandy sediments, and the resulting artificial reef effect is considered one of the main impacts on the marine environment. We investigated the macrobenthic fouling community that developed on the co...
Article
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Over a decade of monitoring offshore wind park environmental impact triggered a reflection on the overall objectives and how to best continue with the monitoring programmes. Essentially, basic monitoring has to be rationalised at the level of the likelihood of impact detection, the meaningfulness of impact size and representativeness of the finding...
Article
The impact of impulsive pile driving on marine mammals is a major environmental concern in offshore wind farm construction. Odontocetes, depending on emission and reception of sound for foraging, spatial orientation and social interactions, are likely to be impacted most. In Belgian and adjacent waters, specific concerns exist about the impact of u...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The third annual meeting of the working group on Marine Benthal and Renewable Ener- gy developments was attended by 15 experts, representing seven countries (Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, United Kingdom (England and Scotland) and the Nether- lands; with remote input from Poland and Sweden) and was held on 21–25 April 2015 in Oban, Scotland/U...
Article
There is growing evidence that climate change could affect marine benthic systems. This review provides information of climate change-related impacts on the marine benthos in the North Atlantic. We cover a number of related research aspects, mainly in connection to two key issues. First, is the relationship between different physical aspects of cli...
Article
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Bird collision assessments are generally made at the scale of a single wind farm. While especially in offshore situations such assessments already hold several assumptions, even bigger challenges exist on estimating the cumulative impact of multiple wind farms and the impacts at population level. In this paper, the number of collision victims at Be...
Article
Full-text available
Marine benthic ecosystems are difficult to monitor and assess, which is in contrast to modern ecosystem-based management requiring detailed information at all important ecological and anthropogenic impact levels. Ecosystem management needs to ensure a sustainable exploitation of marine resources as well as the protection of sensitive habitats, taki...
Data
Full-text available
Marine benthic ecosystems are difficult to monitor and assess, which is in contrast to modern ecosystem-based management requiring detailed information at all important ecological and anthropogenic impact levels. Ecosystem management needs to ensure a sustainable exploitation of marine resources as well as the protection of sensitive habitats, taki...
Article
Full-text available
1. Beach nourishment, the placement of sand onto a sediment-starved stretch of coast, is widely applied as a soft coastal protection measure because of its reduced ecological impact relative to hard coastal protection. In order to predict effects on the intertidal sandy beach ecosystem, we developed a simulation model that integrates species envelo...
Article
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1. Biodiversity conservation often focuses on threatened or rare species. While this structural asset of biodiversity is indeed important, the functional diversity aspect has to be considered as an even more important criterion for marine management and conservation. This paper explores the use of functionally important ecosystem engineers in North...
Article
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In the next 10–20 years, thousands of wind turbines will be present in the North Sea. In this paper, we investigate the impact of these windmill artificial reefs (WARs) on the ecology of benthopelagic fish. More specifically we will try to resolve the attraction-ecological trap-production issue for Atlantic cod and pouting at WARs and link the info...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The 2014 annual meeting of the Working Group on Marine Benthal and Renewable Energy developments was attended by 19 experts, representing nine countries (Bel- gium, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Poland, Sweden, United Kingdom, Nether- lands) and was held in Tallinn, Estonia during March. The meeting was co-chaired by Jennifer Dannheim (Alfre...
Article
Full-text available
This study explores the relation between sediment composition and intertidal macrobenthos populations in the Zwin nature reserve (Belgium and The Netherlands), a tidal lagoon that is included in the Ramsar list of wetlands of international importance and has been designated as Natura 2000 area, among others due to its function as wintering habitat...
Article
Predation is known to play an important role in structuring communities. In rocky intertidal communities, both environmental variables and the structuring role of predation determine species zonation and distribution patterns. However, on intertidal sandy beaches, little is known on the presence and the role of predation. In this study, laboratory...
Article
Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) is a commercially important fish species suffering from overexploitation in the North-East Atlantic. In recent years, their natural environment is being intensively altered by the construction of offshore wind farms in many coastal areas. These constructions form artificial reefs influencing local biodiversity and ecosys...
Chapter
Anthropogenically generated underwater noise in the marine environment is ubiquitous, comprising both intense impulse and continuous noise. The installation of offshore wind farms across the North Sea has triggered a range of ecological questions regarding the impact of anthropogenically produced underwater noise on marine wildlife. Our interest go...
Chapter
Full-text available
To monitor the impact on birds following the construction of two offshore wind farms in the Belgian part of the North Sea, a twofold strategy was followed. Monthly ship-based seabird surveys allowed for a detailed displacement effect assessment, while radar research aimed at studying avoidance behaviour and barrier effects. Both methods provided in...
Chapter
Full-text available
At present, everybody agrees that offshore wind farms do impact the natural environment. Whether or not these impacts should be valued positive or negative, or ecologically and societally acceptable, however remains an open question. While boosting local species richness, the artificial hard substrata may for example also open the door to non-indig...