A Few of Our Services

Delivery of Innovative Solutions

SMRU Consulting is a global leader in marine mammal consulting and applied research, delivering innovative, robust and environmentally sound solutions to clients active in the marine environment. Our staff have extensive experience in carrying out research into many facets of marine mammal biology and we work closely with our academic partners, the Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) and the Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling (CREEM) at the University of St. Andrews.

Expert Advice to Regulators & Government

SMRU Consulting provides sound strategic advice to regulators and government departments based on the latest marine mammal science and technologies. We have considerable experience with developing frameworks for assessing the impacts of anthropogenic activities on marine mammal populations.

Develop Environmental Assessment Frameworks

We have considerable experience with developing frameworks for the environmental assessment of the effects of anthropogenic activities on marine mammals and basking sharks. We provide specialist input to all stages of the EIA process, from screening through to post construction monitoring of marine mammals, and bespoke research into marine mammal interactions with infrastructure and human activities.

Identify & Manage Project Risks

Our team is committed to providing practical, consistent, and timely results with a high level of attention to detail. We work closely with developer teams to ensure project risks are identified and managed, from pre-consenting consultation through to post installation monitoring and reporting.

Industry Focused Research & Development

Our team has a strong and diverse background in applied marine mammal research. Every member of our science team holds an advanced graduate degree in the field of marine mammal science and we are highly qualified to design and implement studies of marine mammal abundance and density, behaviour, distribution and habitat use, foraging ecology, movement, and passive acoustic monitoring.

Noise Impact Assessments

Alongside the University of St. Andrews, we have developed an interim framework for assessing the population consequences of noise disturbance on marine mammals (PCoD). We also work closely with our sister company, St. Andrews Instrumentation (SAIL) to develop and provide Decimus® technology to acoustically monitor marine mammals in real-time.

Our Sectors

shutterstock_74901859SMRU Consulting has a wide range of experience in providing expertise and services to the renewable energy industry with respect to marine mammals and basking sharks. We are uniquely placed to provide advice on the best available technologies and techniques for monitoring and mitigation, and have access to emergent technologies and bespoke solutions should they be required.

In addition to our commercial experience, our academic excellence and global profile in marine mammal biology and research will provide regulators, statutory advisers and other stakeholders with the confidence that any concerns relating to impacts on marine mammals will be dealt with robustly and appropriately. Our services have included expert marine mammal expert advice, technical review and monitoring services to a number of offshore wind, tidal and wave developments.

shutterstock_199288553SMRU Consulting has worked across a number of civil engineering and infrastructure projects, including…

Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link Project

We were contracted as part of the FEMM consortium for the Fehmarnbelt fixed link project (the underwater tunnel between Denmark and Germany) for the Danish Department of Transport, led by CEFAS and BioConsult SH, to contribute to the baseline studies and impact assessments on harbour porpoises and seals. The FEMM Danish reports are now available here.

Nuclear Power Station, Hinkley Point

Our work involved a baseline assessment with Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) for harbour porpoise and dolphin species. We designed and conducted data collection using PAM methods to assess spatial and temporal variations in harbour porpoise and dolphin species presence with respect to the construction of a nuclear power station on the Bristol coast for CEFAS. This involved offshore survey work, deploying PAM equipment. Data analysis involved extracting harbour porpoise and dolphin species detection data and using advanced statistical methods (Generalised Additive Models (GAMs) and Generalised Estimating Equations (GEEs)) to robustly assess the patterns of occurrence in the data. Data were collected to help inform an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

New Forth Road Bridge Crossing

Noise monitoring is being provided, primarily for protection of salmon and lamprey, using the passive acoustic monitoring device PAMBuoy™ in the River Forth estuary for FCBC (Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors) during construction of the new Forth Road Bridge (Scotland).

shutterstock_91351232Management of our coasts and seas is becoming increasingly important as a wider range of industries and users compete for space and wildlife and environmental concerns have to be taken into account. As marine spatial planning becomes more routine, the requirement for sound strategic advice based on the latest scientific data is vital.

SMRU Consulting provides input to Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEA) and Environmental Impact Statements (EIS), advice on marine mammal distributions and ecological considerations, and input to appropriate assessments to assist government with its activities relating to commercial developments.

shutterstock_89679901SMRU Consulting has been actively involved in various projects within the defence sector, both with clients and directly with national military departments. Often sensitive in nature, we strive to provide the best possible outcomes for our clients in what can be challenging and diverse environments.

Examples of the type of work we have completed are:

    • Provision of marine mammal distribution data used in environmental impact and risk assessments
    • Training of field personnel and cutting edge data interpretation services for Behavioural Response Studies into the effects of sound on beaked and pilot whales in the Bahamas
    • Development of real time acoustic risk assessment tools

shutterstock_133911755As a wholly owned subsidiary of the University of St. Andrews, and with our academic partner the Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU), we are ideally placed to carry out cutting edge research and development. Our scientists all have a strong background in academic research, and with designated personal development days, this ensures they remain at the leading edge of their respective fields.

To date we have worked across a number of R&D projects including:

    • The US Army and Air Force teamed with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) and the National Marine Mammal Laboratory (NMML) to investigate the use of real-time passive acoustic monitoring for Beluga whales. SMRU Consulting, the Sea Mammal Research Unit,  and St. Andrews Instrumentation (SAIL) were contracted to conduct a trial of our Decimus (formerly PAMBuoy®) system in Eagle River, Alaska. This was part of a multi-year effort led by ADF&G and NMML to conduct applied passive acoustics research on Cook Inlet belugas (CIBA project). Real-time detection success was reliably achieved for beluga whales using Decimus. Details of the study can be found in the SMRU USA (LLC) Contract Report (Gillespie D, Castellote M, Maginnis A, Garner CD and RJ Small 2013).
    • Oil and Gas Joint Industry Project, funded by a consortium of nine oil and gas producers, including Exxon and Shell, to look at the effects of seismic activity on global trends in cetacean populations. Collaborators included SMRU Consulting, the Sea Mammal Research Unit, the Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling (CREEM), and the University of Freiburg in Germany. Two peer reviewed papers have been published and another is in preparation.
    • Marine Mammal Awareness Alert and Response System (MMAARS) and US Navy funded project, where SMRU Consulting were subcontracted to CREEM, looking at the effects of navy activity on marine mammals off the coast of Hawaii, specifically targeting risk management from noise.
    • US Navy funded project looking at Behavioural Response Studies into the effects of sound on beaked and pilot whales in the Bahamas. Provision of field personnel and cutting edge data interpretation services. We have had 3 publications to date, with 2 more to follow.

shutterstock_94322068SMRU Consulting provides robust, environmentally sound science and research services to the Oil & Gas industry:

Examples of our projects to date include:

  • Analysis of the relationship between cetacean stock trends and exploration & production activities on a global basis for the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers through their Joint Industries Research Programme.
  • Provision of automated risk assessment of E&P activities in association with BAE Systems.
  • Our research activities include investigations into acoustic impacts on marine mammals, and we have access to the latest research into effects of persistent contaminants on top level predators including marine mammals.

We recognize the need to characterize uncertainty associated with Oil & Gas activities from E&P through to decommissioning.  Our scientists are able to carry out marine mammal risk assessments using the latest acoustic response data.  We are also able to devise bespoke research projects to answer questions posed through the consenting process regarding potential impacts on marine mammals, from the individual up to population scales.

shutterstock_196364645Marine ecosystems are heavily punctuated with man-made structures. Every structure has an environmental footprint – some are small and have localised impacts (both positive and negative) while others are large with far-reaching influence. Many of the most significant structures, such as hydrocarbon platforms, are now so well-established that they are themselves part of the ecosystem within which they sit. The decommissioning of structures is a major challenge posed to both the Regulatory and Oil & Gas sectors – a challenge which the scientific community is exceptionally well placed to help with.

Decommissioning facts and progress to date

    • Currently less than 10% of the 556 Steel Piled Jackets in the North Sea have been decommissioned to date (2013). Activity is expected to ramp up towards 2015/16. Three of the twelve Concrete Gravity Base structures in the North Sea have been decommissioned.
    • Total expenditure of £4.5 billion between 2012-2017 with a predicted expenditure of £28.7 billion by 2040.
    • Removal options are covered by OSPAR 98/3 on the Disposal of Disused Offshore Installations (in force from Feb 1999).
    • The current OSPAR regulations require full removal of the platforms, with limited derogations, including fixed concrete structures, footings of jackets (>10,000 tonnes installed prior to 1999).

There are a number of opportunities for R&D:

    • Robust baseline monitoring – pre, during and post decommissioning
    • Rigs to reef – modelling pros and cons
    • Noise impacts of different cutting methods, understanding noise levels and responses

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