Time-series observations are valuable tools to detect, understand, and forecast changes in marine ecosystems. In the European Union, monitoring programmes have taken on renewed importance due to the entry into force of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) (2008/56/EC). Accordingly, a global network needs to be established in the next years to provide baselines to assess ocean health. Such activities have been carried out for some key ocean observatories across Europe but these do not yet have strong microbial diversity components.
Within the time-series programme RADIALES carried out by the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO), multidisciplinary observations are carried out monthly along North Iberian Shelf (ICES Ecoregion G). At present, this monitoring programme includes meteo-climatic, hydrographic, biogeochemical, and planktonic components. Phylogenetic information of microbial communities has been, however, scarcely monitored.
This project aims to determine detailed spatial and temporal changes in bacterial taxonomic composition and abundance in relation to the abiotic and biotic variables in North Iberian Shelf waters. This project will allow not only the generation of a baseline data on microbial ecology, but also the development of indicators of environmental status regard to descriptors 1 (biological diversity) and 4 (food webs) of the MSFD.