Extending the phytoplankton tool kit for the UK Water Framework Directive: indicators of phytoplankton community structure

Devlin, Michelle, Barry, Jon, Painting, Suzanne, and Best, Mike (2009) Extending the phytoplankton tool kit for the UK Water Framework Directive: indicators of phytoplankton community structure. Hydrobiologia, 633 (1). pp. 151-168.

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The Water Framework Directive (WFD) demands consideration of normative definitions for assessing ecological state of marine waters. For phytoplankton, ‘deviations from the ideal’ need to be considered for species composition and abundance, average biomass and the occurrence of blooms. A combination of phytoplankton metrics has been developed which, when considered in combination, should provide a confident assessment of the ecological state of each water body under assessment. The aim of this study was to evaluate phytoplankton community structure in different coastal and estuarine water bodies within England and Wales, and to contribute evidence towards the development of a community-based phytoplankton indicator. Influences of seasonality on the species assemblage were tested using a long-term data set available from a long-term monitoring site just offshore of Plymouth, UK. There is a substantive seasonal influence to the data, with a maximum of 10–14 common species (out of a potential 20) reoccurring within the same calendar month over a 10-year time span. Comparisons between reference and test water bodies give a range of common species of between 3 and 11 species within water type and season. A statistical and qualitative approach for comparing the most common species occurring between a reference and test site were tested for development of a WFD phytoplankton assessment tool. Overall, the results indicate that there are distinct phytoplankton assemblages over seasons which could form the basis of a community assessment metric. However, differences in boundary conditions are negligible between the different areas. There is evidence that community populations may be ubiquitous across marine water types in England and Wales, and development of generic seasonal lists across typologies could be appropriate in the further development of this tool.

Item ID: 5332
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: phytoplankton; Water Framework Directive; community composition
ISSN: 1573-5117
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2010 01:17
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960502 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic Environments @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960903 Coastal and Estuarine Water Management @ 50%
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