Batmobile - Impact of offshore wind farms on bats in the German Bight and the Baltic

Project title: Investigations into the connectivity and behaviour of bats migrating over the open sea for a higher accuracy in assessing the impact of offshore wind turbines


  • Investigation of flight corridors and other areas of dense bat populations
  • Determination of individual flight routes over the sea
  • Behavioral surveys during flight and on vertical structures
  • Development of standard methods for primary surveys and monitoring of bats in wind farm projects


Antje Seebens-Hoyer
Project co-ordinator
NABU Mecklenburg-Western Pommerania
(Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union)
Wismarsche Str.146, D-19053 Schwerin
Tel: +49 385 59 389 80



FKZ 3519 86 1300
Departmental Research Plan 2019
Term: 01.12.2019 – 30.01.2023

As part of the expansion of renewable energies in Germany, the further expansion of offshore wind energy is also planned. Consequently, there is an increasing risk of collision and thus mortality for bats migrating over the seas. The project aims to determine which specific factors increase the collision risk for bats with offshore wind turbines. These are to serve as a basis for deriving impact mitigating measures.

The project aims to identify factors that increase the risk of collision and mortality for bats with offshore wind turbines. It is to be examined to what extent areas in which bats congregate such as flight corridors exist that could be used as a basis for impact reducing spatial planning measures and whether behavioural patterns (such as exploratory behaviour of man-made vertical structures) exist that could significantly increase the risk of collision. On this basis, standard methods for the impact assessment of offshore wind farm projects for bats are to be formulated as a basis for an updating of the federal approval concepts.


Within the framework of Batmobil it is planned to

  • establish potential areas of dense bat populations via bio-acoustic investigations,
  • determine individual flight routes using telemetric methods, and
  • behavioural investigations during flight and at vertical (man-made) structures.

The following questions are to be addressed:

  • For bats, are there offshore sites of concentration, area-centred populations or flight corridors? In any way, sites with increased occurrence probabilities of migratory bats represent sites with increased conflict potential.
  • What flight behaviour do migratory bats show over the sea? What flight routes and flight altitudes do they use? Specific flight routes can provide additional information on the existence of densely populated sites. Again, flight altitudes within the reach off the rotors of offshore wind turbine have significant influence on collision risks.
  • How do bats migrating over the sea behave at vertical structures such as offshore wind turbines? Do they change flight altitude? Do they show exploratory behaviour? Due to certain behaviours (such as the exploratory behaviour at offshore wind turbines) the collision risk may be significantly increased.

On that basis, standard methods for primary surveys and monitoring of bats at specific wind farm projects are to be developed and formulated. These can be directly integrated into the standard survey concepts of the federal approval authorities.

Work packages

Work packages

  1. Testing of methods and development of a survey concept to identify densely populated areas and the behaviour of bats migrating over seas

  2. Conduct a field study based on the survey concept

  3. Identification of factors that increase the collision risk for bats with offshore wind turbines (based on the field study)

  4. Formulation of standard investigation methods for the investigation of bats as protected species in the context of offshore wind farm projects

  5. Preparation of a final report and scientific publication


Project partners

Project partners

Project management

Antje Seebens-Hoyer
Project co-ordinator
NABU Mecklenburg-Western Pommerania
(Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union)
Wismarsche Straße 146, 19053 Schwerin
Tel: 0385/5938980


Federal Nature Conservation Agency (BfN)
II 3.3 Human impacts & ecological issues in marine projects
Dr. Sandra Vardeh

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