|Assessing reference conditions and macrobenthic Ecological Quality Status for the Belgian Part of the North Sea|
Cabana Permuy, D. (2011). Assessing reference conditions and macrobenthic Ecological Quality Status for the Belgian Part of the North Sea. MSc Thesis. ILVO Visserij: Oostende. 49 pp.
Macro-invertebrates; Habitat approach; Reference Conditions; Pressure Index; Multimetric and Multivariate indicators; Ecological Quality Status
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Anthropogenic pressures menacing the quality status of the marine waters are patent. Being conscience of these threats, two frame Directives have been prompted in the last decade in Europe. The European Water Framework Directive (WFD; 2000/60/EC) and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD; 2008/56EC) aim the assessment and further improvement of the water quality all around Europe. Thus, the macrobenthic invertebrates have been proposed to be analyzed as part of the ecological quality elements. Consequently, several multimetric and multivariate diversity indices have been developed and intercalibrated aiming the assessment of the ecological quality status (EcoQ) in the benthic habitats. In this thesis, following several approaches we have assessed the EcoQ for long-term sampled stations located at the Belgian Part of the North Sea (BPNS). First, following different approaches (Habitat Model and Biological Model) our samples have been categorized into the main benthic habitats described at the (BPNS), secondly, and following the habitat approach, reference conditions (RC) have been settled considering two main methods (timeline and a pressure index), and to finalize, by using several intercalibrated indices (BEQI, M-AMBI, NQI, BQI, DKI, IQI) the assessment was accomplished. The results obtained here explain the current status of the Abra alba, Macoma balthica and Ophelia limacina habitats at the BPNS, also a EcoQ trend line from 1977 to 2009 was investigated.