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Applying macrophyte community indicators to assess anthropogenic pressures on shallow soft bottoms
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm University Baltic Sea Centre.
2014 (English)In: Hydrobiologia, ISSN 0018-8158, E-ISSN 1573-5117, Vol. 738, no 1, 171-189 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Vegetated soft bottoms are under pressure due to a number of anthropogenic stressors, such as coastal exploitation and eutrophication. The ecological value of these biotopes has gained recognition through international conventions and the EU directives, which request methods for assessment of the environmental status of coastal areas. However, currently there is no appropriate method for assessing the status of shallow vegetated soft bottoms in the northern Baltic Sea. Therefore, we developed a macrophyte community index and tested its response in relation to important pressures (eutrophication and boating activity) and natural gradients (topographic openness, depth and salinity) on shallow bays in the northern Baltic Sea. The macrophyte index, and hence the proportion of sensitive to tolerant species, decreased with increasing phosphorus concentration, turbidity and level of boating activity, while the cumulative cover of macrophytes only showed a negative trend in response to increasing turbidity. Juvenile fish abundance was positively related to the index, indicating importance of sensitive macrophyte species for ecosystem functioning. As the index was tested in a wide geographic area, and showed a uniform response across natural gradients, it is a promising tool for assessment of environmental status that may be applied also in other vegetated soft-bottom areas.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 738, no 1, 171-189 p.
Keyword [en]
Monitoring, Bio-assessment, Eutrophication, Boating activity, Aquatic plants, Baltic Sea
National Category
Biological Sciences Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-107411DOI: 10.1007/s10750-014-1928-zISI: 000340479400013OAI: diva2:754254


Available from: 2014-10-09 Created: 2014-09-15 Last updated: 2014-10-09Bibliographically approved

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Hansen, Joakim P.
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Stockholm University Baltic Sea Centre
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