Monitoring programme: Biodiversity - Seabed habitats
Programme topic: Benthic community species distribution and abundance

Sub-programme: softbottom fauna

 

​table of contentS

Regional coordination

Purpose of monitoring

Monitoring concepts table

Assessment requirements

Data providers and access

References


REgional Coordination

The monitoring of this sub-programme is: partly coordinated.

 

Purpose of monitoring (q4K)

Follow up of progress towards:

Baltic Sea Action Plan​ (BSAP) ​ ​ ​Segments ​Biodiversity
Eutrophication
​Ecological objectives

Natural distribution and occurrence of plants and animals
Natural oxygen levels
Thriving and balanced communities of plants and animals
Viable populations of species

Marine strategy framework directive (MSFD) ​ ​ ​Descriptors ​​D1 Biodiversity
D2 Non-indigenous species
D5 Eutrophication
D6 Seafloor integrity
​Criteria (Q5a)

1.1 Species distribution
1.3 Population condition
1.6 Habitat condition
2.1 Abundance and state characterisation of non-indigenous species
6.2 Condition of benthic community

​Features (Q5c)
Biological features:
A description of the biological communities associated with the predominant seabed and water column habitats.
Information on angiosperms, macro-algae and invertebrate bottom fauna, including species composition, biomass and annual/seasonal variability.
Other relevant legislation (Q8a)
​Habitats Directive
Water Framework Directive


 

Assessment of: (Q4k)
State/Impacts ​​X temporal trends,
status classification
Pressures
Human activities
causing the pressures
Effectiveness of measures

Scale of data aggregation for assessments: (Q10a)
HELCOM assessment unit Level 1: Baltic Sea
​HELCOM assessment unit Level 2: Subbasin
HELCOM assessment unit Level 3: Subbasins with coastal and offshore division​ X
HELCOM assessment unit Level 4: Subbasins with coastal WFD division X


Monitoring concepts table

Coordination Elements
Q9a (Q5c)
Parameter
Q9a (Q5c)
Method
Q9c, Q9d
QA/QC
Q9e, 9f
Frequency
Q9h, 9i
Spatial resolution
Q9g, 9i
Link to HELCOM core indicators Link to
MSFD GES characteristics

Q5b 
Spatial scope
Q4i
Monitoring started
Q4h
CPs monitoring

Regional
(COMBINE)

Soft-bottom macrofauna

Population size (abundance)

Species composition

HELCOM COMBINE manual, Part C Annex C8

HELCOM COMBINE manual

Yearly

3-10 offshore stations per sub-basin and 3-10 stations per coastal water type.

State of the soft-bottom macrofauna communities

1.6.2 Relative abundance and/or biomass

EEZ

1965

SE 1971


 

All HELCOM Contracting Parties

Regional
(COMBINE)

Soft-bottom macrofauna

Population size (biomass)

HELCOM COMBINE manual, Part C Annex C8

HELCOM COMBINE manual

Yearly

3-10 offshore stations per sub-basin

State of the soft-bottom macrofauna communities

1.6.2 Relative abundance and/or biomass

EEZ

1965

All HELCOM Contracting Parties

National

Soft-bottom macrofauna

Size of individuals (length or weight)

National

National

Yearly

1-3 selected stations in offshore and coastal waters per sub-basin

State of the soft-bottom macrofauna communities

1.6.2 Relative abundance and/or biomass
6.2.4 Parameters describing the characteristics of the size spectrum of the benthic community

EEZ

1965

FI


 



Brief description of monitoring

Detailed information on monitoring frequency and spatial resolution has not yet been collected from all countries but will be added.

 

​Element / parameter
Soft-bottom macrofauna/Population size (abundance)
Soft-bottom macrofauna/Population size (biomass)
​Method Offshore samples taken by van Veen grabs, while coastal samples taken by Ekman, van Ween, small van Ween, (and some other grabs). Sieve size according to Part C Annex C8 of HELCOM COMBINE manual is 1.0 mm (+ 0.5mmm optionally), but some countries take only 0.5 mm samples or even 0.25 mm samples. Number of replicates varies between 3-5.
QA/QC HELCOM COMBINE manual
Frequency Yearly in offshore and many coastal sites
Every 3rd – 6th year in some coastal sites. In SE, some local stations in the Baltic Sea are monitored every 2nd-3rd year.
Spatial Scope Monitoring is divided, in practice, to COMBINE monitoring in the offshore and national coastal monitoring programmes, which are restricted to coastal waterbodies. Spatial strategies differ nationally: in the extremes, Sweden has aggregations of stations along the coast, while Finland has evenly distributed stations over the offshore area and coastal stations within waterbodies. National strategies have not been coordinated.

Swedeb has 580 stations in the Baltic Sea.
Spatial resolution All sub-basins


 
 

assessmenT REQUIREMENTS

Monitoring requirements and gaps

Monitoring is to be carried out to fulfill assessment requirements of HELCOM ecological objectives that are specified through HELCOM core indicators. The requirements on monitoring can include number of stations, the sampling frequency and replication.

Monitoring
requirements
An appropriate assessments of state of the soft-bottom macrofauna require 3-6 monitoring stations per HELCOM assessment unit in offshore waters and coverage of several waterbodies per coastal water type. Monitoring is to be carried out during summer months every year if the aim is to detect temporal change or every 3-6 years (if the aim is to assess the state of the area).

Replicate samples (n=3-6) need to be taken in a monitoring location to cover the small scale spatial variation of the fauna communities. Regional coherence of the assessment results also require similar sieve sizes. This has been (almost) achieved in the offshore sampling, whereas coastal sampling methods seem to vary nationally and comparability is weaker. The last 40 years of HELCOM monitoring on soft bottom macrofauna was carried out according to the HELCOM COMBINE manual and it was agreed to sample in autumn.

​Gaps ​​


 
Adequacy for assessment of GES (Q5d)

Monitoring should provide adequate data and information  to enable the periodic assessment of environmental status, and distance from and progress towards GES as required by MSFD under Article 9 and 11.

​Adequate data?​
Yes
Established methods for assessment?
​Yes
​Adequate understanding of GES?
​​Yes
Adequate capacity to perform assessments?
Yes (but not for all parameters, e.g., not for size of individuals)


 
Assessment of natural variability (Q5e)

Quantitative, qualitative and expert opinion. Long time series (over 40 years) have shown the natural variability in the data set, which can be taken into account in the assessment.


Data providers and access

​Data access point
​National databases, data reported to ICES Data Centre
Data type (Q10c)

Data availability (Q10c)​

​Data access (Q10c)

​INSPIRE standard (Q10c)

When will data become available? (Q10c)

Data update frequency (Q10c)
Every 1-6th years
Describe how the data and information from the programme
will be made accessible to the EC/EEA
​​Contact points in the Contracting parties Contact point to national monitoring programmes will be added
​Has the data been used in HELCOM assessments?
​Yes, e.g. BSEP 116B Biodiversity in the Baltic Sea.


 

REFERENCES

Anon. 2007. Report of the Estonian assessment method and the preliminary evaluation of the comparability with methods from other Baltic Sea countries is presented in the Baltic Sea Milestone Report 6. Quality element: Benthic Fauna. Version 16 June 2006. Rev. 3, 30 March 2007. (GIG Milestone Reports 60).

Błeńska M., Osowiecki A., Kraśniewski W., Piątkowska Z., Łysiak-Pastuszak E. 2010. Macrozoobenthos quality assessment in the Polish Part of the Southern Baltic Sea using a biotic index “B”. ICES Annual Science Conference Handbook. s. 217.

Blomqvist, M., Cederwall, H., Leonardsson, K. & Rosenberg, R. 2007. Bedömningsgrunder för kust och hav. Bentiska evertebrater 2006. Rapport till Naturvårdsverket 2007-04-11. 70 pp. (in Swedish with English summary)

Carletti, A. & Heiskanen, A-S. (2009): Water Framework Directive intercalibration technical report. Part 3: Coastal and transitional waters. JRC Scientific and Technical Reports.

HELCOM. 2009. Thematic Assessment of eutrophication. Baltic Sea Environmental Proceeding 116 B.