The potential impacts of submarine power cables on benthic elasmobranchs

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dc.contributor.advisor Montgomery, J en
dc.contributor.advisor Radford, C en Orr, Melanie en 2016-10-17T21:19:31Z en 2016 en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description.abstract Offshore renewable energy developments are becoming increasingly popular to meet the growing global demand for renewable energy. Marine sources of renewable energy, and other power transmission requirements, use submarine power cables that are either alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC). Both have the potential to generate weak electromagnetic fields (EMFs) within the elasmobranch sensitivity range. Thus the question arises: do submarine cables adversely affect elasmobranchs? To help address this question, the effects of EMFs associated with a 50 Hz 75 amp (A) AC power cable, a 30 A DC cable and a 198 A DC cable were studied through a novel series of laboratory experiments, with and without seawater flow over the cables. Experiments used two benthic elasmobranch species, the New Zealand eagle ray (Myliobatis tenuicaudatus Hector, 1877) and New Zealand carpet shark (Cephaloscyllium isabellum Bonnaterre, 1788). Eagle rays showed no response to the active 30 A DC cable 51.8% of the time in seawater flow, and 85.1% of the time in no seawater flow. In these experiments, the cables were above the tank floor and responses towards active and inactive cables were similar, so were likely triggered by visual and tactile cues. An improved experimental design was developed to remove these confounding factors, introduce AC fields, and increase EMF strengths to more closely simulate field strengths. Under these conditions, the sharks showed no response to the active AC cable an overwhelming 98% of the time. In response to the 198 A DC cable, they investigated the active cable zone 8.1% of the time but still showed no response towards the active cable 90.9% of the time. The sharks habituated to the 198 A DC cable within the first five minutes of an experiment. Based on these results, it is concluded that submarine AC cables of a similar specification will have little effect and are unlikely to impact benthic elasmobranchs. Based on the rapid habituation shown by the sharks, the small effect prompted by 198 A DC cables is also not expected to translate into an impact, though further research into other cable specifications and study species is recommended. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA99264874705402091 en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
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dc.title The potential impacts of submarine power cables on benthic elasmobranchs en
dc.type Thesis en Marine Science en The University of Auckland en Doctoral en PhD en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
dc.rights.accessrights en
pubs.elements-id 542949 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2016-10-18 en

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