Analysis framework for long-term and cumulative effects monitoring

Principal Investigators:

Dr. Trevor Avery, Acadia University

Start Date: October 2017

End Date: September 2018

The project aims to provide a framework under which turbine effects on specific marine species populations, at various deployment scales, can be tested. This framework will provide the basis for future assessment of far-field and cumulative environmental effects, which will become increasingly important as more turbines are deployed.

An analysis framework will be developed that describes how to use past, current and future data available from other parties can be used to determine population level effects. As well, the framework will allow simulations to uncover areas where more data is/will be necessary, and will characterize the uncertainty (variability) in current monitoring approaches.

Through the integration of current and forthcoming data on species-specific effects, historical data, and population dynamics (how species populations change over time), better estimates of population-level effects can be obtained using more sophisticated analyses.

In this project, Integrated Population Models (IPM) will be used to construct an analysis framework first for lobster, which can later be applied as a framework for all fish species. IPMs essentially connect many simpler relationships (e.g. relative abundance, mortality rates) together to estimate the ‘unknown’ underlying processes through imperfect observation. All sampling methods are imperfect, therefore, IPMs offer the best solution to characterize how populations may change over time when various ecosystem pressures are encountered. The research outcomes will have implications to current environmental effects monitoring programs for tidal energy development.