Report of the Benthos Ecology Working Group (BEWG) [15 May 2006 Heraklion, Crete, Greece]
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Original versionThis report is not to be quoted without prior consultation with the General Secretary.
The 25the meeting of the Benthos Ecology Working Group (Chair: Heye Rumohr, Germany) was held in the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR) in Heraklion, Crete. The meeting was attended by 22 participants from twelve nations, two of which were new to the group (Russia and Latvia). ToR a) The Agenda contained reports from ongoing and new benthos research projects in the ICES area and special reports from the hosting institute about the eastern Mediterranean. The Wikispecies project supported by the Wikimedia Foundation has a great potential. It is meant to become an open, free directory of species. This will cover Animalia, Plantae, Fungi, Bacteria, Archaea and Protista. Everyone has the possibility to add or adjust a page on species, or any higher taxon. Species will ideally have name references, synonymy and links to wikipedia pages in all languages. All the information, images included, is free of copyright. The peracarid order Cumacea was outlined as an example both on Wikispecies and on the Dutch Wikipedia on http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeekomma%27s. (www.wikipedia.org and species.wikipedia.org) ToR b) The group discussed the progress of the SGNSBP and the contents of the planned CRR which will be finished in 2006. The data will be integrated in the MarBEF database when all data providers have agreed. ToR c) A subgroup formulated a text concerning benthos as eutrophication indicator where they addressed the topic regionally in estuaries, Baltic Sea and Lagoons, Fjords and the open waters. No simple, single species based system can be recommended for defining eutrophication effects on macrozoobenthos. An approach investigating whole community structure shifts must be adopted. It was recommended that observations are to be carried out on changes in the ratio of species numbers to total individual numbers. Increases in opportunistic species, including increases in biomass, should be considered. Changes in the community diversity can then be followed and compared by the Rarefaction Method. Pearson – Rosenberg (and related) models should be considered to identify species / groups important as local indicators. This should also include observed higher variability and even increased species numbers in the very early stages of enrichment. The group also recommends that consideration be given to shifts in feeding strategies in the benthic community (from suspension feeders to deposit feeders) The group recommends not only to consider infauna but also to consider hyper- and epibenthos which involves the application of different sampling methods such as dredging, imaging, etc. ToR d) There is a possibility to form a consortium of researchers which have a common interest in the marine environmental implications of off-shore renewable energy generation. (www.cost.esf.org/opencall). An initial expression of interest to participate in this initiative was from Spain, Belgium, Germany, Poland and the UK. The end of May deadline may be difficult to attain, although the group is convinced that there would be enough interest from different countries and institutes. Therefore it was concluded that a mailing list of possible interested parties would be created. ToR f) The outcome of Theme Session S (ASC 2005) was not very relevant for the question of long-term effects of oil-spills since it mainly dealt with short-term effects and clean-up methodologies. Looking in the literature, however, we find that after oil spills many effects were no longer visible after one year, most of them disappeared after three years but in the case of Amoco Cadiz the Ampelisca spp. population recovery took more than ten years . Single remainders of crude oil may be found even after 25 years as asphalt ‘pavements’. Kingston (2002) reports in his very comprehensive and up-to-date paper that the recovery in intertidal habitats is very much coupled to wave exposure and natural processes and that recovery is normally within 1–3 years after the spill depending on the latter ones and of the life span of the species in question ToR g) The initial draft report on dredged spoil disposal produced by the sub-group illustrated examples from the work conducted in several countries including information from Belgium, Germany, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and the U.S.A. The group formulated a list of conclusions and recommendations on how to deal with the search for suitable disposal site. A final document will be published as a Cooperative Research Report (CRR), final draft ready by September 2006. ToR j) To achieve a comprehensive list of existing metrics Hiscock 2004 shall be updated including newly developed metrics like e.g. tools developed under the WFD to assess the ecological status (i.e. multimetric tools or multivariate tools); Taxonomic distinctness and related indices; Any other new univariate indices. The regional sections of the WGRED report were distributed to experts in the group asking for critical review and need for amendments. The group agreed that generally the major interest goes to oceanography and fishing and only very little to benthos, special amendmends can be found in the annexes. ToR l) ICES Data Centre: The group agreed that geo-referenced fishing effort information is necessary. The importance of VMS data over information from ICES rectangles was emphasized. Sediment distribution data (geo-referenced) is also important. A metadata catalogue from the ICES Data Centre should be made readily available and accessible via the internet. The working group website has been moved to a new address: www.bewg.be
Contributor: Lene Buhl-Mortensen
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