|Influence of macrofauna long-term natural variability on benthic indices used in ecological quality assessment|
|Kröncke, I.; Reiss, H. (2010). Influence of macrofauna long-term natural variability on benthic indices used in ecological quality assessment. Mar. Pollut. Bull. 60(1): 58-68. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2009.09.001|
|In: Marine Pollution Bulletin. Macmillan: Oxford. ISSN 0025-326X, more|
Benthos; Ecosystems; ANE, North Sea [gazetteer]; Marine
An essential prerequisite for the assessment of the ecological quality of marine ecosystems is the understanding of the natural variability and its effect on the performance of quality indices. This study is focused on the long-term natural variability of diversity, biotic and multimetric indices by using long-term macrofauna data of a coastal area in the southern North Sea (1978–2005). The univariate and most biotic and multimetric indices respond significantly on specific natural disturbance events such as cold winters, but the strength of response varied between indices as well as between events. As a result, the ecological quality status can decrease over a range of 3 (out of 5) classification units. The overall ecological quality was good to high, but an increase of indices occurred from the mid 1980s onwards due to changes in the climate regime. This long-term variability has to be considered within ecological quality assessment schemes.