ICES Annual Science Conference 2017

Theme session L

Ecosystem monitoring in practice

Conveners:
Sophie Pitois (UK)
Mark Benfield (USA)
Christopher Zimmermann (Germany)

​Traditionally marine monitoring programmes have focused on particular ecosystem components such as biogeochemical parameters or commercial fish and shellfish species for which stock assessments are carried out as a basis for fisheries management advice. During recent years these programmes​ have changed focus to study the whole marine ecosystem by measuring many ecosystem components simultaneously to be able to detect changes and monitor key processes and the status of the ecosystem. Non-standardized sampling methods lead to irregular datasets that are difficult to synthesize. This adversely impacts the quality of databases and subsequent products. This is particularly true in the case of zooplankton, which although recognized as sensitive to environmental changes and an important link to higher trophic levels and ultimately fisheries, are not routinely sampled as part of fis​heries and other monitoring surveys. 

Although government funding sources for monitoring of biological and aquatic processes is increasingly limited and often not consistent, the mandate for collecting and compiling marine biological data has increased and data requirements have evolved. We therefore need to adapt our thinking on monitoring in general and how to promote an integrated approach to the collection of data (zooplankton and others) for fisheries and environmental monitoring requirements. This perfectly fits ICES work with the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and integrated ecosystem assessments (IEAs) and meets its strategy of "creating frameworks and initiating processes to further the application of the ecosystem approach …". 

The session invites contributions on proven concepts, best practices and novel approaches with respect to the following topics:

  • Data compilation: developments in integration of data, combined presentation of data from multiple sources, data mining, visualization of results;
  • Calculation of derived variables based on data from multiple sources, e.g. primary and secondary production in marine systems, relationships between food availability and consumption;
  • The use of automated devices: automated calculations from automatic measurements, and automatic data integration;
  • Presentations of holistically orientated methods for accurate and precise quantification of process governing ecosystem functions for optimal ecosystem balancing and management.

 

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​Photo: Institute of Marine Research, Norway

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Theme session L

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