Our expedition members have experienced this firsthand. The divers dived three shipwrecks and saw cod, colonies of dead man's fingers (soft corals), large saltwater crabs and lobsters, schools of pouts and horse mackerel. Two shark eggs and an octopus were even spotted. Horse mussels have also been found at all three shipwrecks; these mussels can grow up to eight inches and form reefs that serve as habitats, shelters and spawning grounds for many other species. In this way they form a foundation for the marine ecosystem. As an experiment for active wildlife development, the divers moved horse mussels in baskets to a new location to assess how the mussels are holding up.
As part of the TKI project BENSO, various sizes of rubble have been placed at a wreck. The stones provide a hard surface and an ideal structure for animals to attach themselves to and to hide in, which is impossible on a bare sandy bottom.
The BENSO project focuses on scour protection: boulders that protect the seabed around wind turbine poles against erosion. Scour protection can be designed to benefit species such as fish, crabs and lobsters.
The results of the experiment will provide starting points for taking measures when constructing new offshore wind farms that can boost biodiversity within those farms.
Read the (Dutch) article about the Dogger Bank expedition on Ark nature development here