Marine turbine design and location may both influence the efficiency of the device and alter the potential for interaction with animals. The Isle of May is taken as a study site to investigate the utilisation of the water structure by the local marine community over the tidal cycle. Time dependant current profiles are quantitatively described (using ongoing data collection from an ADCP). Animal distribution and usage is explained using historic telemetry data and observation concurrent with oceanographic sampling.
Feeding hotspots are seen to occur in areas with particular oceanographic properties suggesting that foraging animals actively seek out certain environmental parameters. At the same time, it is thought that most marine animals use the dynamic nature of the water profile to enhance their foraging. In this way the distribution of actively foraging animals within the water column can be compared to the oceanographic properties and current regime to suggest optimal feeding conditions for the different species.
This information acts to highlight areas that would be unsuitable as sites for marine turbine location due to the increased risk of encounter with foraging animals. The 3-dimentional water column study is also used to advice device design in order to minimise the material and mechanical wear from oceanographic forcing.