Searching for undesirable disturbance: an application of the OSPAR eutrophication assessment method to marine waters of England and Wales

Foden, Jo, Devlin, Michelle J., Mills, David K., and Malcolm, Stephen J. (2011) Searching for undesirable disturbance: an application of the OSPAR eutrophication assessment method to marine waters of England and Wales. Biogeochemistry, 106 (2). pp. 157-175.

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Abstract

The OSPAR Eutrophication Strategy requires assessment of eutrophication to be based on the ecological consequences of nutrient enrichment and not just on nutrient enrichment alone, i.e. finding reliable evidence for accelerated growth of algae and higher forms of plant life caused by anthropogenic nutrient enrichment, leading to undesirable disturbance. Fully flushed marine waters of England and Wales (salinity >30) were assessed against OSPAR's harmonised criteria of nutrient concentration and ratios, chlorophyll concentrations, phytoplankton indicator species, macrophytes, dissolved oxygen (DO) levels, incidence of fish kills and changes in the zoobenthos, using region specific thresholds. None of the thirteen assessment areas, including six nutrient enriched areas, exhibited evidence for undesirable disturbance. This paper details the methods and the overall outcome of the assessment. It presents evidence that undesirable disturbance caused by nutrient enrichment was not detected in English and Welsh marine waters assessed under the OSPAR procedure. The main reasons for the lack of eutrophication problems, such as the underwater light climate limiting the accelerated growth of algae, which might otherwise result from nutrient enrichment, are discussed.

Item ID: 15449
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: accelerated growth, eutrophication, assessment criteria, marine, OSPAR, undesirable disturbance
ISSN: 1573-515X
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2011 06:07
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050204 Environmental Impact Assessment @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960502 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic Environments @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960506 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Fresh, Ground and Surface Water Environments @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960604 Environmental Management Systems @ 40%
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