BOSTON — A scientist and researcher who has written about the need for offshore wind development to take the protection of endangered right whales and other marine species into account is joining the Vineyard Wind team as a senior scientist.

The offshore wind developer announced the arrival of Dr. Christopher Clark on Monday, describing him as "a renowned bioacoustician with over forty years of experience studying the potential influences of man-made noise on endangered species."

From 1987 until 2017, Clark led the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Bioacoustics Research Program.

"I spent much of my career working at the intersection of marine science, industry, and regulation, and I look forward to providing my expertise to a team at the forefront of an evolving industry that is new to the waters off the east coast," Clark said in a statement.

Clark has published numerous studies on the migratory patterns of right whales and other marine species, as well as the effects of vessel noise and other acoustic disturbances have on ocean life.

Peter Corkeron, a senior scientist and chair of the Kraus Marine Mammal Conservation Program at the New England Aquarium, said Clark is "a world-renowned expert on ocean acoustics whose ideas have driven our understanding of how anthropogenic sounds impact marine mammals, particularly whales."

As it works to develop the country's first utility-scale offshore wind installation for Massachusetts and projects for other states, Vineyard Wind last year struck an agreement with conservation groups to protect the critically endangered right whales from harm associated with wind turbine construction and operation, and employs a small team of scientists.

The Vineyard Wind I project, selected by Massachusetts utilities to deliver 800 megawatts of wind energy from a farm 15 miles south of Martha's Vineyard and 34 miles from the mainland, remains in limbo as federal officials conduct an analysis of the fast-growing offshore wind industry in the Atlantic. 

 

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