Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 4397
Title: Estimating effects of tidal power projects and climate change on threatened and endangered marine species and their food web
Author: D. S. Busch, Correigh M. Greene, Thomas P. Good
Publication Year: 2013
Journal: Conservation Biology
Volume: 27
Issue: 6
Pages: 1190-1200
Keywords: climate change, endangered species, tidal power, Puget Sound, food web,

Marine hydrokinetic power projects will operate as marine environments change in response to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations.  We consider how tidal power development and stressors resulting from climate change may affect Puget Sound species listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) and their food web.  We used risk tables to assess the singular and combined impacts of tidal power development and climate change.  This assessment indicated that tidal power development and climate change pose risk to ESA-listed species and that risk increased with incorporation of the impacts of these stressors on predators and prey of ESA-listed species.  In contrast, results from a blade-strike model suggested that few ESA-listed species are likely to be killed by a commercial-scale tidal turbine array.  We applied scenarios to a food web model of Puget Sound to explore the impacts of tidal power and climate change on ESA-listed species using more quantitative analytical techniques.  To simulate tidal power development, we applied results of the blade strike model; to simulate environmental changes over the next 50 years, we applied scenarios of change in primary production, plankton community structure, dissolved oxygen, ocean acidification, and freshwater flooding events.  No impacts of tidal power development on ESA-listed species were detected from the food web model output, but the effects of climate change on them and other members of the food web were strong.  Our analyses exemplify how natural resource managers might assess environmental impacts of marine technologies in ways that explicitly incorporate climate change and consider multiple ESA-listed species in the context of their ecological community.

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Theme: Recovery, Rebuilding and Sustainability of Marine and Anadromous Species
Foci: Describe the relationship among human activities and species stock status, recovery, rebuilding and sustainability.