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

Sub-programme: softbottom flora

 

​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: not coordinated.


Purpose of monitoring (q4K)

Follow up of progress towards:

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

​​Clear water
Natural landscapes and seascapes
Thriving and balanced communities of plants and animals

Marine strategy framework directive (MSFD) ​ ​ ​Descriptors ​​D1 Biodiversity
D5 Eutrophication
D6 Seafloor integrity
​Criteria (Q5a)

1.6 Habitat condition
5.3 Indirect effects of nutrient enrichment
6.2 Condition of bnethic 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 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​
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

National

Angiosperms (Zostera and others)

Species distributional range/pattern

Assessment of depth limits by video recording or diving along transects (HELCOM COMBINE Manual, Part C, Annex C9)

National

Yearly

One or several ”samples” (=locations) per WFD water body with 5 replicates per sample/location

Lower depth distribution limit of macrophyte species (pre-core indicator)

1.4.1 Distributional range

1.4.2 Distributional pattern

WFD CW

2006


 

DE

National

Macroalgae (Charophytes)

Species distributional range/pattern

Assessment of depth limits by diving along transects (HELCOM COMBINE Manual, Part C, Annex C9)

National

Yearly

One or several ”samples” (=locations) per WFD water body with 5 replicates per sample/location

Lower depth distribution limit of macrophyte species (pre-core indicator)

1.4.1 Distributional range

1.4.2 Distributional pattern

WFD CW

2006

DE

National

Angiosperms and macroalgae

Species abundance (numbers or cover)

Assessment of depth limits by video recording or assessment of species specific cover by divers(HELCOM COMBINE Manual, Part C, Annex C9)

National

Yearly

One or several ”samples” (=locations) per WFD water body with 5 replicates per sample/location. In Poland 3 replicates per sample

-

1.5.1 Habitat area

WFD CW

DE: 2006

PL: 2002

DE, PL, SE


 

​National

Angiosperms and macroalgae

Species abundance (biomass)

Sampling by divers and analysis of species specific dry weight in the laboratory (HELCOM COMBINE Manual, Part C, Annex C9)

​National

​Yearly

One or several ”samples” (=locations) per WFD water body with 5 replicates per sample/location. In Poland 3 replicates per sample.


 


​1.5.1 Habitat area

​WFD CW

DE: 2006

PL: 2002

​DE, PL, SE

​National

​Angiosperms and macroalgae

​Species present (whole community or selected species only)

Assessment of species specific cover  by divers and/or biomass sampling (HELCOM COMBINE Manual, Part C, Annex C9)

​National

​Yearly

One or several ”samples” (=locations) per WFD water body with 5 replicates per sample/location


1.6.2 Relative abundance and/or biomass

​WFD CW

​2006

​DE



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
Angiosperms (Zostera and others)/Distributional pattern (depth limits)
​Method Line transects at selected locations along depth gradient (across the currently existing depth limit of the species, not the whole depth range) assessed using a towed video sledge or by divers. See Part C, Annex C9 of HELCOM COMBINE Manual
QA/QC National
Frequency Yearly. Season: mid-June to mid-September
Spatial Scope Germany: densest and largest eelgrass biotopes along the outer coastline of the Baltic Sea.
Spatial resolution Germany: HELCOM Assessment Unit 4, within a 6-year time period the whole vegetated area of fjords, bays and lagoons will be attempted to cover by several line transects. The number of transects differs between WFD water bodies due to their different spatial area and natural conditions. Some line transects are fixed and investigated several times in a 6-year time period (if possibly yearly). Others are only investigated once in a 6-year time period.


 

​Element / parameter
Macroalgae (only Charophytes)/Distributional pattern (depth limits)
​Method Line transects at selected locations along depth gradient. See Part C, Annex C9 of HELCOM COMBINE Manual
QA/QC National
Frequency Yearly. Season: mid-June to mid-September
Spatial Scope Germany: only in fjords, bays and coastal lagoons, where charophytes are usually distributed
Spatial resolution Germany: HELCOM Assessment Unit 4, within a 6-year time period the whole vegetated area of fjords, bays and lagoons will be attempted to be covered by several line transects. The number of transects differs between WFD water bodies due to their different spatial area and natural conditions. Some line transects are fixed and investigated several times in a 6-year time period (if possibly yearly). Others are only investigated once in a 6-year period.


 

​Element / parameter
Angiosperms and macroalgae/Species abundance (number or cover)
Angiosperms and macroalgae/Species abundance (biomass)
Angiosperms and macroalgae/Species abundance (species present)
​Method

Cover estimations are made by divers at fixed stations at certain depths in an area of 20-25 m2 and in frames (1 m2), frames with 5 replicates per location, covering all species (or other relevant taxonomical group) that are identifiable under water.

Biomass and taxonomy is determined though sampling by divers at fixed stations in certain depth intervals (densest parts of the eelgrass biotope) in frames (0,25m2) with 5 replicates per location, taxa-specific determination of dry weight in the laboratory. See Part C, Annex C9 of HELCOM COMBINE Manual.

In Poland, sampling is done by divers along line transects at selected locations along depth gradient until the depth limit of the vegetation. Sample in frames 0,25 m2 with 3 replicates per each depth interval.

QA/QC National
Frequency Yearly. Season: mid-June to mid-September
Spatial Scope
Spatial resolution Germany: HELCOM Assessment Unit 4, within a 6-year time period the whole vegetated area of fjords, bays and lagoons will be attempted to be covered by several line transects. The number of transects differs between WFD water bodies due to their different spatial area and natural conditions. Some line transects are fixed and investigated several times in a 6-year time period (if possibly yearly). Others are only investigated once in a 6-year time period.


 

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

In Germany, monitoring will concentrate on WFD coastal types (HELCOM Level 4 assessment unit). The number of stations per unit varies according to the natural gradient and the natural occurrences of the monitoring species within each unit. Therefore no fixed number of assessment stations can be chosen. The station number is type (assessment unit) and species specific. At each station at least three transects are assessed as "pseudo-replication" for small scale variation.

Monitoring data includes species-specific coverage and substrate data along the depth gradient (bathymetry data are supplementary, giving an impression of the bottom slope). The depth gradient has to be followed below the type- and species-specific defined GES value (~ GES depth + 2-meter depth).

Seasonal timing of the programme is the main vegetation period between July and August. Assessments are conducted once within a 6-year time period for the whole depth gradient and yearly within the currently existing depth limit of the respective species (current depth limit  ± 2 m depth range).

​Gaps ​In Germany, biomass is only monitored for eelgrass biotopes along the outer coastline, and even there not continuously along the depth gradient but only for certain depth intervals identified as appropriate for WFD purposes. For fjords, lagoons and bays no samples are taken (only estimates made in the field). As the visibility in the inner water bodies is often restricted the values can only be used qualitatively and the values for species composition are only rough estimates.

In Finland, soft-bottom macrophytes are not included in the national monitoring programme at the moment. Baseline mapping of macrophytes has been carried out in the underwater biotope inventory programme (VELMU - in Finnish), which can be used as a basis for further planning of monitoring.


 
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 for eutrophication, not so clear for biodiversity.
Established methods for assessment?
Yes for eutrophication, not so clear for biodiversity.
​Adequate understanding of GES?
Yes for eutrophication, not so clear for biodiversity.
Adequate capacity to perform assessments?
Yes for eutrophication, not so clear for biodiversity.


 
Assessment of natural variability (Q5e)

Quantitative. Natural variability is taken into account by taking replicate samples in similar sampling areas and using time series data.


Data providers and access

​Data access point
​National databases
Data type (Q10c)

Data availability (Q10c)​

​Data access (Q10c)

​INSPIRE standard (Q10c)

When will data become available? (Q10c)

Data update frequency (Q10c)

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?


 

REFERENCES

Krause-Jensen D, Greve TM, Nielsen K. 2005. Eelgrass as a bioindicator under the Water Framework Directive. Water Resources Management 19: 63-75.