Ingeborg de Boois, co-chair of the Workshop to Plan and Integrate the Monitoring Programme in the North Sea in the 3rd quarter (WKPIMP)
'To understand what this mouthful of a term means, it may be useful to split it up in understandable pieces.
Starting at the end: ‘monitoring’ is the systematic and routine collection of information, in this case in the marine environment. Monitoring can be done on different time intervals depending on the changes over time. Monitoring is meant to create time-series, meaning that the results from one year can be compared with results from earlier years. This means that methodologies used to collect the information have to be well described and constant over time. If methodologies change over time, it should be made clear how results over time can be compared.
Then the middle part: ‘ecosystem’ is a community of living organisms in conjunction with the non-living components of their environment, interacting as a system. Collecting information on the ecosystem focusses on the relations and interactions between the different aspects in the ecosystem.
At the front end: ‘integrated’ means in this case that the information collected can be related to each other, and that this is already taken into account in the planning phase of the monitoring.
Putting this together, ‘integrated ecosystem monitoring’ is long-term and systematic data collection on more than one ecosystem component, explicitly considering the processes that link the sampled components.'