Quality Assurance and Integration of Zooplankton Monitoring in the Baltic Sea (HELCOM ZEN QAI) 2011-2013
Zooplankton are a major link in aquatic ecosystems and integral to food web dynamics, ecosystem productivity, nutrient and carbon cycling. With the position that zooplankton has in the food web – sandwiched between phytoplankton and fish (between eutrophication and overfishing) – data and understanding of zooplankton are a prerequisite for an ecosystem approach to management. This approach is a cornerstone to HELCOM, Baltic Sea Action Plan, Marine Strategy Framework Directive and EU Common Fisheries Policy.
The overarching aim of the project is to ensure and maintain high quality standard of the international Baltic regional zooplankton monitoring within the HELCOM COMBINE Programme and to assure data comparability and their effective usage. This will be achieved by:
Organizing training courses/workshops;
Revising and updating the COMBINE manual
Updating taxonomic lists;
Evaluating applicability of zooplankton-based indices as environmental indicators;
Revising recommendations for zooplankton biomass assessment.
Activities and objectives
|I. Training courses||a) To maintain continuity and high quality in zooplankton identification and enumeration;|
b) To follow recent changes in taxonomy of problematic zooplankton species;
c) Maintaining and upgrading of the expertise for identification of alien species.
|II. Intercalibrations with regard to species identification, abundance and biomass estimations||a) To further unify sampling and counting methods between the laboratories;|
b) To harmonize general methodology by evaluating differences related to variations in counting procedure and equipment (influence of sub-sampling technique, chamber volume, counting strategy etc.), preservation, etc.;
c) To improve quality control in participating laboratories.
|III. Revision and update of taxonomic lists||a) To add new species and developmental stages when necessary;|
b) To link invalid synonyms and valid species names in co-operation with ICES Data Centre
|IV. Development of zooplankton indicators for environmental quality assessment||To assist in development of regional target values for good environmental status based on zooplankton-related variables.|
|V. Revision of the recommendations for mesozooplankton biomass assessment in the Baltic Sea||a) To revise and unify mesozooplankton biomass calculations between the laboratories;|
b) To update COMBINE zooplankton monitoring guidelines with respect to the general revision of HELCOM monitoring in 2013.
|VI. Regular updating via e-mail as well as during the workshops/meetings||To share information on occurrence of new and rare species, unusual fluctuations in community composition and abundance observed regionally, recent changes in taxonomy of relevant zooplankton groups, new relevant publications, meetings and conferences.|
Specific tasks for the workshops
The detailed venues of the workshops will be circulated between the Contracting Parties and their marine laboratories.
Presentation of the results from the Ring Test 2007.
Discussion on Ring Test 2007 results and preparation of the final report, with particular emphasis on identification of species/stages that caused most disagreement among the participants. Identification of major gaps and needs for improvement by organizing training courses.
Evaluate data availability for development of zooplankton-based indicators for CORESET activities.
Suggested host: Department of System Ecology, Stockholm University.
Workshop 2012 (the exact date and place will be decided before November 2011)
Comparing standard operating procedures (SOP) for zooplankton analysis between different laboratories
Quality assurance and statistical assessment of accuracy and repeatability of the sample preparation and counting procedures to facilitate accreditation of laboratories conducting zooplankton analysis.
Discussion on data quality and development of the COMBINE database hosted by ICES concerning zooplankton data with expert from the ICES Data Centre
Intercalibration of mesozooplankton biomass calculations/measurements.
Recommendations for biomass assessment.
Proposals to HELCOM MONAS 16/2012 for updating of the COMBINE manual for mesozooplankton Appendix C-7.
Workshop 2013 (the exact date and place will be decided before November 2012)
Training course/based on recommendations from Workshop 2011 and 2012.
Recommendations for the design of the next Ring Test to be held in 2014.
Annual reports to HELCOM MONAS;
Intercalibration reports to HELCOM;
Revised biomass assessment guidelines and taxonomic lists of Baltic zooplankton species
Contribution to the CORESET report regarding use of zooplankton in environmental status assessment;
Final report (2011-2013).
Chair of HELCOM Zooplankton Expert Group
Dr. Elena Gorokhova
Dept. of Applied Environmental Science
S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Tel: +46 (8) 6747341
Ms. Maria Laamanen
Tel: +358 46 850 9198