Selection of Biodiversity Indicators


A first selection of cost effective tools and indicators of marine biodiversity at pan-European scale will be made that can be included in existing monitoring programmes of the observatory sites of the network. The selection will be started with a desktop study to collate all known indicators, and will build on the work of BIOMARE and MarBEF (a first selection of indicators already is available from Féral, Fourt, Perez, Warwick, Emblow, Heip, van Avesaath, Hummel, 2002. European Marine Biodiversity Indicators).


A core group of partners assembled in the Working Group Biodiversity Indicators (WGBI) will help in the process to compose and evaluate the overviews on tools and indicators.


For a final selection of best indicators a Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis will be carried out from the scientific (target, scale effects, accuracy and statistical power), technical implementation (technical feasibility, cost-effectiveness) and management/policy (target, information required, and relevance for policies) point of view through a review and evaluation by the WGBI (desktop studies and workshops). Networking in combination with SWOT analyses will result in the choice of the most efficient indicators based on the best available knowledge.


For each indicator there will be a trade-off between the delivered information, accuracy and required standardization sampling method and effort, from the scientific and management/ policy point of view. Furthermore, it should be feasible to implement the method in existing monitoring programmes in different geographical regions. The challenge will be to find this trade-off for the selected indicators and to establish a suit of relevant and cost-effective indicators that can be used to monitor marine biodiversity in different regions and that will facilitate a nested analysis at different spatial scales.


Within the SWOT analysis the assumption (H0) will be e.g.: Taxonomic Distinctness (Warwick, R.M., Clarke, K.R., 2001. Practical measures of marine biodiversity based on relatedness of species. Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review 39: 207–231.) is an efficient (low mean square error) monitoring tool for spatio-temporal trends in (species) biodiversity. Such a hypothesis will provide a focussed reference for the analyses and evaluation of indicators. The expected outcome will be a suit of marine biodiversity indicators to monitor (changes in) marine biodiversity at several spatial scales at long term.


The results of the desktop study and questionnaires will be presented and discussed in a workshop with all members of the Action, in consultation with the WGBI, to provide a list of potential Marine Biodiversity Indicators that can be used in EMBOS.