Monitoring programme: Eutrophication, Biodiversity - Water column habitats​
Programme topic: Zooplankton

Sub-programme: Zooplankton species composition, abundance and biomass

 

​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. Coordinated monitoring is developed by the ZEN QAI project that partially addresses quality assurance work in zooplankton analysis.

  • Common monitoring guidelines: mesozooplankton, HELCOM COMBINE manual.

  • Common quality assurance programme: missing

  • Common database: missing. Data are hosted by analyzing laboratories and national databases. Submission of data to ICES database is not always a requirement.

 

Purpose of monitoring (q4K)

Follow up of progress towards:

Baltic Sea Action Plan​ (BSAP) ​ ​ ​Segments ​Biodiversity
Eutrophication
​Ecological objectives ​​Natural distribution and occurence of plants and animals
Marine strategy framework directive (MSFD) ​ ​ ​Descriptors ​​D1 Biodiversity
D2 Non-indigenous species
D4 Food webs
​Criteria (Q5a)
​1.6 Habitat condition
1.7 Ecosystem structure
2.1 Abundance and state characterisation of non-indigenous species, in particular invasive species
4.3 Abundance/distribution of key trophic groups/species
​Features (Q5c)
Biological features:
A description of the biological communities associated with the predominant seabed and water column habitats.
Other relevant legislation (Q8a)
​Habitats Directive


 

Assessment of: (Q4k)
State/Impacts ​​X temporal trends,
spatial distribution,

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


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
Zooplankton Species abundance (numbers or cover) Microscopic counting HELCOM COMBINE manual
See map for details​ ​​Varies among countries,
See map for details​
Zooplankton mean size and total abundance 1.6.2 Relative abundance and/or biomass EEZ Varies among countries from 1976 to 2004 All HELCOM Contracting Parties
Regional
COMBINE
Zooplankton Species abundance (biomass) Individual weight factors and abundance; length-weight regressions HELCOM COMBINE manual
See map for details​ ​​Varies among countries,
See map for details​
Zooplankton mean size and total abundance 1.6.2 Relative abundance and/or biomass EEZ Varies among countries from 1976 to 2004 All HELCOM Contracting Parties
Regional
COMBINE
Zooplankton Species present (whole community or selected species only) Taxonomic list is under revision by ZEN Other See map for details​ ​​Varies among countries,
See map for details​
Zooplankton mean size and total abundance 1.6.1 Condition of the typical species and communities EEZ Varies among countries from 1976 to 2004 All HELCOM Contracting Parties



Brief description of monitoring

Full description in HELCOM COMBINE manual. Detailed information on monitoring frequency and spatial resolution has not yet been collected from all countries but will be added.


 

​Element / parameter
Zooplankton / Species abundance (number)
​Zooplankton / Species abundance (biomass)
Zooplankton / ​Species present (whole community), pan-Baltic species list was revised by HELCOM ZEN-QAI project
​Method Vertical column sampling, Gear: WP2, 100µm (90µm), formalin preservation, Kott subsampling, Stempel pipett, Counting at 40x to 80x magnification (varies among laboratories).
QA/QC Ring tests (see HELCOM ZEN QAI reports for 2011 and 2012), Inter-and intra-laboratory calibrations, Accreditation procedures facilitating QA. An unresolved area with respect to QA is data quality control when submitting to a database host.
Frequency Varies from 1-2 to 24 samples/station/year, depending on country.
Spatial Scope Varies among countries, See map for details​
Spatial resolution Vertical resolution varies among the sampling stations depending on bottom depth: (1) bottom to surface, (2) bottom to halocline, halocline to thermocline, thermocline to surface, (3) bottom to thermocline, thermocline to surface, (4) discrete depth layers (e.g. 100-60 m, 60-30 m, 30-0 m).


 

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
​Currently there is a study coordinated by Estonia to statistically test how the sampling frequency affects the usability of data for different purposes e.g. detection of long-term trends in different taxa, in population dynamics and also for indicator purposes. The HELCOM core indicator 'Zooplankton mean size and total abundance' is proposed to be tested. Generally, current monitoring might be sufficient if sampling frequency is at least monthly.
​Gaps ​​Better individual biomass assessment would increase the indicator reliability since using length or other individual size measurements would provide a more realistic biomass values compared to the fixed individual weight values. This is related to seasonal and geographic variability in body size. Also, regular intercalibrations of sample analysis (Ring-tests) would facilitate the interlaboratory comparisons.

Harmonization of sampling frequency and spatial resolution among the national monitoring programmes is needed to improve indicator-based assessment across the Baltic Sea and to increase coherency of GES targets.


 

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?​
​It depends on the variability in, for example, sampling frequency among the analyzing laboratories and, importantly, on the length of the long-term data series that are important for establishing GES. In some areas (= stations) the data sets are sufficiently long and taken with high frequency. For those monitoring programmes, the answer would be YES. In others, the data go back only a few years and since GES values are area-specific, it would be a NO.
Established methods for assessment?

​Adequate understanding of GES?

Adequate capacity to perform assessments?


 
Assessment of natural variability (Q5e)

Quantitative. The natural variability is estimated using control cha​rts and long-term data sets.


Data providers and access
 

​Data access point
​ICES, COMBINE, SMHI​, National Data Centres.
Data type (Q10c)
Processed datasets​
Data availability (Q10c)​
ICES Database
​Data access (Q10c)
Open access​
​INSPIRE standard (Q10c)

When will data become available? (Q10c)
Annually
Data update frequency (Q10c)
​Yearly
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


 

REFERENCES