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The relation between migratory activity of Pipistrellus bats at sea and weather conditions offers possibilities to reduce offshore wind farm effects
Brabant, R.; Laurent, Y.; Jonge Poerink, B.; Degraer, S. (2021). The relation between migratory activity of Pipistrellus bats at sea and weather conditions offers possibilities to reduce offshore wind farm effects. Animals 11(12): 3457. https://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ani11123457
In: Animals. MDPI AG: Basel. ISSN 2076-2615, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Pipistrellus Kaup, 1829 [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    bats; bat migration; Pipistrellus sp.; offshore wind farms; collision; mitigation; weather conditions

Authors  Top 
  • Brabant, R., more
  • Laurent, Y., more
  • Jonge Poerink, B.
  • Degraer, S., more

Abstract
    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 research priorities for bat conservation and provide a scientific basis for mitigating the impact of offshore wind turbines on bats. This study investigated the weather conditions linked to the migratory activity of Pipistrellus bats at multiple near- and offshore locations in the Belgian part of the North Sea. We found a positive relationship between migratory activity and ambient temperature and atmospheric pressure and a negative relationship with wind speed. The activity was highest with a wind direction between NE and SE, which may favor offshore migration towards the UK. Further, we found a clear negative relationship between the number of detections and the distance from the coast. At the nearshore survey location, the number of detections was up to 24 times higher compared to the offshore locations. Our results can support mitigation strategies to reduce offshore wind farm effects on bats and offer guidance in the siting process of new offshore wind farms.

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