Skip to content


PELAgIO - Physics-to-Ecosystem Level Assessment of Impacts of Offshore Windfarms

Seal. Keith Luke, Unsplash

Active project

Project start: January 2022  |  Project end: January 2025
Funder: NERC
Principal Investigator: Dr Tim Smyth
Other participants from PML: Prof Nicola Beaumont, Dr Steven Watson
The PELAgIO project will explore the impacts of offshore wind development across all levels of the food chain, looking at the predicted changes across a range of scales – from plankton productivity to the availability of prey for top predators, as well as broader consequences at the ecosystem level. 

Marine ecosystems are inherently complex, and are strongly influenced by the forces of the physical environment. Care must be taken to ensure that the physical effects of deploying offshore wind, including cables, foundations, and the extraction of wind energy itself, are fully understood. These effects occur at every level within the marine ecosystem, from changes to ocean currents and plankton growth, through to changing behaviours of marine prey and their predators.

PELAgIO will support the development of evidence-based policy and marine management through interdisciplinary research that explores the consequences of offshore wind development on marine environments, marine wildlife, and wider ecosystem structures. By observing and modelling over a large range of physical and biological scales, using a combination of autonomous platforms and ocean robots, research vessels and satellite observations, PELAgIO will build an ecosystem-level understanding of projected changes.


PELAgIO will deliver a number of outputs that inform the delivery of net gain and help the UK work towards and maintain Good Environmental Status. These include the use of integrated measures to understand what drives changes in marine ecosystems, producing tools to assess trade-offs to inform policy, and using data from autonomous platforms and robotic surveys to establish an evidence base to understand the ecological footprint of offshore windfarms. Working from selected case study sites, the project outputs will be made scalable through the use of ecosystem models that assess the dynamic effects of changes across natural, social, and economic metrics.