Food web indicators under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive: From complexity to simplicity?

I. Rombouts*, G. Beaugrand, X. Fizzala, F. Gaill, S. P. R. Greenstreet, S. Lamare, F. Le Loc'h, A. McQuatters-Gollop, B. Mialet, N. Niquil, J. Percelay, F. Renaud, A. G. Rossberg, J. P. Feral

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

64 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) requires that European Union Member States achieve "Good Environmental Status" (GES) in respect of 11 Descriptors of the marine environment by 2020. Of those, Descriptor 4, which focuses on marine food webs, is perhaps the most challenging to implement since the identification of simple indicators able to assess the health of highly dynamic and complex interactions is difficult. Here, we present the proposed food web criteria/indicators and analyse their theoretical background and applicability in order to highlight both the current knowledge gaps and the difficulties associated with the assessment of GES. We conclude that the existing suite of indicators gives variable focus to the three important food web properties: structure, functioning and dynamics, and more emphasis should be given to the latter two and the general principles that relate these three properties. The development of food web indicators should be directed towards more integrative and process-based indicators with an emphasis on their responsiveness to multiple anthropogenic pressures. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-254
JournalEcological Indicators
Volume29
Early online date29 Jan 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013

Keywords

  • Descriptor 4
  • Dynamics
  • Good Environmental Status
  • Management
  • Marine
  • MSFD
  • FRESH-WATER ECOSYSTEMS
  • SEA FISH COMMUNITY
  • LONG-TERM TRENDS
  • NORTH-SEA
  • TROPHIC LEVELS
  • BODY-SIZE
  • COMMERCIAL FISHERIES
  • ENVIRONMENTAL STATUS
  • HEALTH INDICATORS
  • MANAGEMENT

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