Underwater robot mapping biodiversity

In mid-June, researchers from Aarhus University conducted studies at Kriegers Flak offshore wind farm using Aarhus University’s motorboat called Niisa.

The purpose of the trip was to investigate the plant and animal life on three wind turbine foundations – from the water surface to the bottom – not only on the foundations themselves but also on the rocks located at the base of the foundations, which serve as protection against erosion, and further out on the surrounding seabed within 100 meters of each foundation.

The investigation on the wind turbine foundations and the natural seabed was carried out using a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV). This underwater robot can be controlled from a ship and can film and collect samples below the water surface.

Seaweed, fish, mussels, and other marine life were filmed on the south side of the foundations, where there is the most sunlight, on the north side, where there is the most shade, and on the west side. Samples of the biology on the foundations were also taken for eDNA analysis.

The same type of investigation was also conducted on three natural stone reefs in the area.

Initially, it was observed that there were many blue mussels, but both samples and videos need to be analyzed to gain more knowledge about the area’s biodiversity – and to compare the biodiversity on natural reefs and on artificial substrates.