Biodiversity and Renewable Energy (BARE)

The BARE research cluster at the University of Exeter investigates the impact of renewable energy on biodiversity. Working with operators, developers and statutory authorities, our work provides the basis for evidence-based policy, and develops solutions for potential conflicts between wildlife and renewable energy. Our work is directed towards areas at the forefront of renewable energy development, encompassing wave, tidal and wind operations, with emphasis on notable species groups such as marine vertebrates, birds and bats, and their associated habitats. We use a range of approaches to describe species distributions and the potential positive and negative effects that renewable energy devices might have upon them. Used in combination, our research methods help to provide a coherent understanding of how species utilise habitats through space and time and give insight in to how management practices at renewable energy development sites might be developed to mitigate negative impacts to species, and to potentially promote biodiversity.

The group consists of researchers with considerable experience and expertise in assessing wildlife populations and the threats they face. Overarching this data collection we also have a high degree of expertise in GIS based analysis and mapping as well as the application of advanced statistical analysis.

Research highlights

  • Assessing wave energy effects on biodiversity: the Wave Hub experience. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society 370, 502-529.
  • Basking sharks in the northeast Atlantic: spatio-temporal trends from sightings in UK waters. Marine Ecology Progress Series 459, 121-134.
  • Marine renewable energy: potential benefits to biodiversity? An urgent call for research. Journal of Applied Ecology 46, 1145-1153.