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Food web indicators under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive: from complexity to simplicity?
Rombouts, I.; Beaugrand, G.; Fizzala, X.; Gaill, F.; Greenstreet, S.P.R.; Lamare, S.; Le Loc'h, F.; McQuatters-Gollop, A.; Mialet, B.; Niquil, N.; Percelay, J.; Renaud, F.; Rossberg, A.G.; Féral, J.P. (2013). Food web indicators under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive: from complexity to simplicity? Ecol. Indic. 29: 246-254. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2012.12.021
In: Ecological Indicators. Elsevier: Shannon. ISSN 1470-160X; e-ISSN 1872-7034, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine/Coastal
Author keywords
    Descriptor 4; Dynamics; Good Environmental Status; Management; Marine; MSFD

Authors  Top 
  • Rombouts, I., more
  • Beaugrand, G.
  • Fizzala, X.
  • Gaill, F.
  • Greenstreet, S.P.R.
  • Lamare, S.
  • Le Loc'h, F.
  • McQuatters-Gollop, A.
  • Mialet, B., more
  • Niquil, N.
  • Percelay, J.
  • Renaud, F.
  • Rossberg, A.G.
  • Féral, J.P., more

Abstract
    The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) requires that European Union Member States achieve “Good Environmental Status” (GES) in respect of 11 Descriptors of the marine environment by 2020. Of those, Descriptor 4, which focuses on marine food webs, is perhaps the most challenging to implement since the identification of simple indicators able to assess the health of highly dynamic and complex interactions is difficult. Here, we present the proposed food web criteria/indicators and analyse their theoretical background and applicability in order to highlight both the current knowledge gaps and the difficulties associated with the assessment of GES. We conclude that the existing suite of indicators gives variable focus to the three important food web properties: structure, functioning and dynamics, and more emphasis should be given to the latter two and the general principles that relate these three properties. The development of food web indicators should be directed towards more integrative and process-based indicators with an emphasis on their responsiveness to multiple anthropogenic pressures.

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