AMPERE - Potential impacts of submarine power cables from marine renewable energy projects on benthic communities


PhD thesis of Bastien Taormina (Bretagne-Loire University) defended on 16/12/2019

Supervisors: Antoine Carlier, Nicolas Desroy and Morgane Lejart


In a global context of rapid development of marine renewable energy projects, the aim of this PhD thesis was to better characterise the potential impacts of submarine power cables on coastal benthic ecosystems.


The work specifically focused on the impacts associated with the operational phase. The major part of this work was dedicated to the reef effect created by these cables and their protective and stabilising structures on sessile epibenthic communities and mobile megafauna. This work was mainly based on underwater imagery, either video or photo collected in situ by divers. The challenge of working with underwater imagery has led to optimise image analyses so as to effectively monitor benthic colonisation and to quantify habitat provision to commercial species.




In addition to this reef effect, colonising organisms are exposed to magnetic fields generated by the power cables. Thus, I designed an experimental study to assess the impact of realistic magnetic fields on the behaviour of juvenile European lobsters (Homarus gammarus).

Finally, we explored the ecological impacts and potential benefits for benthic macrofauna of excluding anthropogenic activity from the cables routes.


By coupling both in situ and ex situ approaches, my PhD research better characterises the environmental impacts associated with submarine power cables. These results will help to assess the ecological footprint of future power grid connections.







Taormina Bastien (2019). Impacts potentiels des câbles électriques sous-marins des projets d’énergies marines renouvelables sur les écosystèmes benthiques / Potential impacts of submarine power cables from marine renewable energy projects on benthic communities. PhD Thesis, Unversité de Bretagne Occidentale.



Taormina Bastien, Bald Juan, Want Andrew, Thouzeau Gerard, Lejart Morgane, Desroy Nicolas, Carlier Antoine (2018). A review of potential impacts of submarine power cables on the marine environment: Knowledge gaps, recommendations and future directions. Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, 96, 380-391.

Taormina Bastien, Marzloff Martin, Desroy Nicolas, Caisey Xavier, Dugornay Olivier, Metral Thiesse Emmanuelle, Tancray Aurelien, Carlier Antoine (2020). Optimizing image-based protocol to monitor macroepibenthic communities colonizing artificial structures. Ices Journal Of Marine Science, 77(2), 835-845.

Taormina Bastien, Di Poi Carole, Agnalt Ann-Lisbeth, Carlier Antoine, Desroy Nicolas, Escobar-Lux Rosa Helena, D’eu Jean-François, Freytet Florian, Durif Caroline M.F. (2020). Impact of magnetic fields generated by AC/DC submarine power cables on the behavior of juvenile European lobster (Homarus gammarus). Aquatic Toxicology, 220, 105401.

Taormina Bastien, Percheron Arthur, Marzloff Martin, Caisey Xavier, Quillien Nolwenn, Lejart Morgane, Desroy Nicolas, Dugornay Olivier, Tancray Aurelien, Carlier Antoine Succession in epibenthic communities on artificial reefs associated with marine renewable energy facilities within a tide-swept environment. ICES Journal of Marine Science.

Taormina Bastien, Laurans Martial, Marzloff Martin, Dufournaud Noémie, Lejart Morgane, Desroy Nicolas, Leroy Didier, Martin Stephane, Carlier Antoine (2020). Renewable energy homes for marine life: Habitat potential of a tidal energy project for benthic megafauna. Marine Environmental Research, 161, 105131 (11p.).


Press releases:

Ouest France: L'impact des câbles électriques sous  la mer Le homard est-il sensible aux champs électromagnétiques?

France 3: Le homard est-il sensible aux champs électromagnétiques?

PDM: Les impacts de l'éolien offshore sur le homard.

Mer et Marine: Les jeunes homards indifférents aux champs magnétiques des câbles électriques

À la une

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