Observatoire Oceanol. de Banyuls Banyuls, FRANCE
Objectives and input to workpackage
The composition and structure of the fauna, flora and habitats
of the oceans change particularly due to climate and human
activity. The latter is the reason for the deterioration of many
environments; over the last 50 years the rate and extent of this
deterioration has been unprecedented, as were the consequences on
biological diversity. Indicators generally refer to the
environmental attributes, often species or species groups, which
can be sampled and whose modification is supposed to reflect a
change of biological diversity. Indeed indicators are measurable
substitutes for the larger constituents of biological diversity.
They are useful monitoring tools given the impossibility to survey
biological diversity in its entirety. Indicators must be envisaged
in the context of information flow (scientific research,
environmental management, decision making or public awareness).
Thus the objective is to condense information on
biodiversity and clarify the generally complex phenomena dealt
with in the environmental sciences by a set of standardised
Description of work
Bioindicators will be considered following the model developed
by OECD: State, Pressure, Use and Response indicators. As a
short-term objective WP2 will consist of:
- a survey and critical evaluation of different types of
bioindicators available in Europe: so-called indicator and
sentinel species, biological indices, biomarkers, lethal and
sublethal tests, bioaccumulators.
- a tentative inventory of existing national monitoring
networks (e.g. sea water quality: temperature, salinity,
nutrients and contaminants, phytoplankton disturbance
(especially by toxic unicellulars), bacteriological quality of
shellfish by faecal bacteria).
Over a 2 year period the network will organise regional
workshops and meetings to:
- organise a sequence of meetings aimed at increasingly
inclusive information coverage (definition of sustainable
indicators and related techniques at regional and European
- determine the geographical unit which must be studied: same
biogeographical history and a certain ecological homogeneity
(link with WP1)
- choose the indicator group(s) according to current knowledge,
and explore the availability of standardised sampling techniques
- express the results in terms of local (alpha) and landscape
(gamma) diversity, as well as in terms of beta diversity (e.g.
quantification of species substitution between communities)
- produce comparable data, readily available in banks designed
for their public use (link with WP3).