Benthic macroflora (workpackage 4.2)
Workpackage 4.2 aims at developing indicators of the impact of environmental pressures on transitional and coastal water macrophyte communities. Reference communities for seagrass and macroalgae are developed to derive class boundaries for ecological quality classes. A field sampling campaign was undertaken to generate data for uncertainty analysis of indicator development methodologies and the precision of assessment results. In particular, workpackage 4.2 aims:
- to develop benthic macroflora indicators of ecological status in transitional waters, a multimetric index for macroalgae in coastal waters that incorporates both littoral and sub-littoral assemblages, and an index for angiosperms in marine waters of the North Sea,
- to review and validate existing seagrass and macroalgae indicators and multimetric indices to assess ecological status in transitional and coastal waters,
- to intercalibrate and harmonise metrics within ecoregions and simplify existing benthic macroflora metrics,
- to develop pressure-response empirical models of coastal and transitional benthic macroflora indicators,
- to define reference conditions and class-boundaries for seagrass and macroalgal indicators and metrics and
- to estimate uncertainty of ecological status classification and indicator-pressure responses.
During the summer of 2009 field work was performed at five sampling stations on European transitional and coastal waters: Oslo Fjord (Norway), Spanish Atlantic coast, Mondego Estuary (Portugal), Coast of Mallorca (Spain) and Lesina Lagoon (Italy). Sampling was designed to assess uncertainty in classification of water masses, due to spatial heterogeneity between and within locations in the water mass and due to differences between experts. All samples have been processed, and the data is being uploaded to the common database designed for uncertainty estimations of ecological status classification.