A generic framework to assess the representation and protection of benthic ecosystems in European marine protected areas
Greathead, Clare ; Magni, Paolo ; Vanaverbeke, Jan ; Buhl‐Mortensen, Lene ; Janas, Urszula ; Blomqvist, Mats ; Craeymeersch, Johan A. ; Dannheim, Jennifer ; Darr, Alexander ; Degraer, Steven ; Desroy, Nicolas ; Donnay, Annick ; Griffiths, Yessica ; Guala, Ivan ; Guerin, Laurent ; Hinchen, Hayley ; Labrune, Celine ; Reiss, Henning ; Hoey, Gert Van; Birchenough, Silvana N.R. - \ 2020
Aquatic conservation: marine and freshwater ecosystems 30 (2020)7. - ISSN 1052-7613 - p. 1253 - 1275.
There is concern across the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) region that a consideration of vulnerable components and the wider support mechanisms underpinning benthic marine ecosystems may be lacking from the process of marine protected area (MPA) designation, management and monitoring. In this study, MPAs across six European ecoregions were assessed from a benthic ecology perspective. The study included 102 MPAs, designated by 10 countries, and focused on three aspects regarding the role of the benthos in: (i) the designation of MPAs; (ii) the management measures used in MPAs; and (iii) the monitoring and assessment of MPAs. Qualitative entries to a questionnaire based on an existing framework (EU project ‘Monitoring Evaluation of Spatially Managed Areas’, (MESMA) were collected by 19 benthic experts of the ICES Benthic Ecology Working Group. A pedigree matrix was used to apply a numerical scale (score) to these entries. The results showed clear differences in scores between ecoregions and between criteria. The designation‐phase criteria generally achieved higher scores than the implementation‐phase criteria. Poor designation‐phase scores were generally reiterated in the implementation‐phase scores, such as scores for assessment and monitoring. Over 70% of the MPA case studies were found to consider the benthos to some extent during selection and designation; however, this was not followed up with appropriate management measures and good practice during the implementation phase.
Poor spatial and temporal coverage of monitoring and ineffective indicators is unlikely to pick up changes caused by management measures in the MPA. There is concern that without adequate monitoring and adaptive management frameworks, the MPAs will be compromised. Also, there could be an increased likelihood that, with regard to the benthos, they will fail to meet their conservation objectives. This assessment was successful in highlighting issues related to the representation and protection of the benthos in MPAs and where changes need to be made, such as expanding the characterization and monitoring of benthic species or habitats of interest. These issues could be attributable to an ongoing process and/or an indication that some MPAs only have ‘paper protection’.
Benthic effects of offshore renewables: identification of knowledge gaps and urgently needed research
Dannheim, Jennifer ; Bergström, Lena ; Birchenough, Silvana N.R. ; Brzana, Radosław ; Boon, Arjen R. ; Coolen, Joop W.P. ; Dauvin, Jean-Claude ; Mesel, Ilse De; Derweduwen, Jozefien ; Gill, Andrew B. ; Hutchison, Zoë L. ; Jackson, Angus C. ; Janas, Urszula ; Martin, Georg ; Raoux, Aurore ; Reubens, Jan ; Rostin, Liis ; Vanaverbeke, Jan ; Wilding, Thomas A. ; Wilhelmsson, Dan ; Degraer, Steven ; Norkko, Joanna - \ 2020
ICES Journal of Marine Science 77 (2020)3. - ISSN 1054-3139 - p. 1092 - 1108.
benthos - environmental impact - knowlegde gaps - marine ecology - offshore wind farms - renewable energy
As the EU's commitment to renewable energy is projected to grow to 20% of energy generation by 2020, the use of marine renewable energy from wind, wave and tidal resources is increasing. This literature review (233 studies) (i) summarizes knowledge on how marine renewable energy devices affect benthic environments, (ii) explains how these effects could alter ecosystem processes that support major ecosystem services and (iii) provides an approach to determine urgent research needs. Conceptual diagrams were set up to structure hypothesized cause-effect relationships (i.e. paths). Paths were scored for (i) temporal and spatial scale of the effect, (ii) benthic sensitivity to these effects, (iii) the effect consistency and iv) scoring confidence, and consecutively ranked. This approach identified prominent knowledge gaps and research needs about (a) hydrodynamic changes possibly resulting in altered primary production with potential consequences for filter feeders, (b) the introduction and range expansion of non-native species (through stepping stone effects) and, (c) noise and vibration effects on benthic organisms. Our results further provide evidence that benthic sensitivity to offshore renewable effects is higher than previously indicated. Knowledge on changes of ecological functioning through cascading effects is limited and requires distinct hypothesis-driven research combined with integrative ecological modelling.
Methodological elements for optimising the spatial monitoring design to support regional benthic ecosystem assessments
Hoey, Gert Van; Wischnewski, Julia ; Craeymeersch, Johan ; Dannheim, Jennifer ; Enserink, Lisette ; Guerin, Laurent ; Marco-Rius, Francisco ; O’connor, Joey ; Reiss, Henning ; Sell, Anne F. ; Vanden Berghe, Marie ; Zettler, Michael L. ; Degraer, Steven ; Birchenough, Silvana N.R. - \ 2019
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 191 (2019)7. - ISSN 0167-6369 - 13 p.
Benthic habitat condition assessments are a requirement under various environmental directives. The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), for example, challenges member states in a European sea region to perform comparable assessments of good environmental status and improve coherence
of their monitoring programmes by 2020. Currently, North Sea countries operate independent monitoring programmes using nationally defined assessment
areas. Lack of an agreed OSPAR or EU scale monitoring method and programme has been identified as a priority science need. This paper proposes a method
for the development of a coherent and efficient spatial sampling design for benthic habitats on regional level and gives advice on optimal monitoring effort
to get more accurate assessments. We use ecologically relevant assessment areas (strata) across national borders and test spatial sample allocation methods.
Report of the Working Group on Marine Benthal and Renewable Energy Developments (WGMBRED) : 6-9 March 2018, Galway, Ireland
Dannheim, Jennifer ; Gill, Andrew B. ; Boon, Arjen ; Brzana, Radoslaw ; Coolen, J.W.P. ; Dauvin, Jean-Claude ; Degraer, Steven ; Jackson, Angus ; Janas, Urszula ; Mesel, I.G. de; O'Beirn, Francis ; Pezy, Jean-Philippe ; Raoux, Aurore ; Sheehan, Emma ; Vanaverbeke, Jan - \ 2018
International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES WGMBRED Report 2018/HAPISG:02) - 68 p.
Understanding the influence of man-made structures on the ecosystem functions of the North Sea (UNDINE)
Dannheim, Jennifer ; Beerman, Jan ; Lacroix, Geneviève ; Mesel, Ilse De; Kerckhof, Francis ; Schon, Isa ; Degraer, Steven ; Birchenough, Silvana N.R. ; Garcia, Clement ; Coolen, J.W.P. ; Lindeboom, H.J. ; Luttikhuizen, Pieternella C. - \ 2018
Wageningen : Wageningen Marine Research - 47 p.
Data challenges and opportunities for environmental management of North Sea oil and gas decommissioning in an era of blue growth
Murray, Fiona ; Needham, Katherine ; Gormley, Kate ; Rouse, Sally ; Coolen, Joop W.P. ; Billett, David ; Dannheim, Jennifer ; Birchenough, Silvana N.R. ; Hyder, Kieran ; Heard, Richard ; Ferris, Joseph S. ; Holstein, Jan M. ; Henry, Lea-Anne ; Mcmeel, Oonagh ; Calewaert, Jan-Bart ; Roberts, J.M. - \ 2018
Marine Policy 97 (2018). - ISSN 0308-597X - p. 130 - 138.
Maritime industries routinely collect critical environmental data needed for sustainable management of marine ecosystems, supporting both the blue economy and future growth. Collating this information would provide a valuable resource for all stakeholders. For the North Sea, the oil and gas industry has been a dominant presence for over 50 years that has contributed to a wealth of knowledge about the environment. As the industry begins to decommission its offshore structures, this information will be critical for avoiding duplication of effort in data collection and ensuring best environmental management of offshore activities. This paper summarises the outcomes of a Blue Growth Data Challenge Workshop held in 2017 with participants from: the oil and gas industry; the key UK regulatory and management bodies for oil and gas decommissioning; open access data facilitators; and academic and research institutes. Here, environmental data collection and archiving by oil and gas operators in the North Sea are described, alongside how this compares to other offshore industries; what the barriers and opportunities surrounding environmental data sharing are; and how wider data sharing from offshore industries could be achieved. Five primary barriers to data sharing were identified: 1) Incentives, 2) Risk Perception, 3) Working Cultures, 4) Financial Models, and 5) Data Ownership. Active and transparent communication and collaboration between stakeholders including industry, regulatory bodies, data portals andacademic institutions will be key to unlocking the data that will be critical to informing responsible decommissioning decisions for offshore oil and gas structures in the North Sea.
Towards answering the "so what" question in marine renewables environmental impact assessment
Degraer, Steven ; Birchenough, Silvana N.R. ; Braeckman, Ulrike ; Coolen, J.W.P. ; Dannheim, Jennifer ; Mesel, Ilse De; Gregoire, Marilaure ; Kerckhof, Francis ; Lacroix, Geneviève ; Lindeboom, H.J. ; Moens, Tom ; Soetaert, K. ; Vanaverbeke, Jan ; Hoey, Gert van - \ 2016
Geophysical Research Abstracts 18 (2016). - ISSN 1029-7006 - 1 p.
Preface: the WinMon.BE 2013 conference: steps towards an efficient and effective offshore wind farm environmental impact assessment
Degraer, S. ; Dannheim, J. ; Gill, A.B. ; Lindeboom, H.J. ; Wilhelmsson, D. - \ 2015
Hydrobiologia 756 (2015)1. - ISSN 0018-8158 - p. 1 - 2.
Offshore wind park monitoring programmes, lessons learned and recommendations for the future
Lindeboom, H.J. ; Degraer, S. ; Dannheim, J. ; Gill, A.B. ; Wilhelmsson, D. - \ 2015
Hydrobiologia 756 (2015)1. - ISSN 0018-8158 - p. 169 - 180.
renewable energy development - north-sea - communities - impacts - benthos - farms - power - biodiversity - assemblages - management
Over a decade of monitoring offshore wind park environmental impact triggered a reflection on the overall objectives and how to best continue with the monitoring programmes. Essentially, basic monitoring has to be rationalised at the level of the likelihood of impact detection, the meaningfulness of impact size and representativeness of the findings. Targeted monitoring is crucial and should continue to be applied to disentangle processes behind observed impacts, for instance the overarching artificial reef effect caused by wind parks. The major challenge, however, remains to achieve a reliable assessment of the cumulative impacts. A continuous international consultation and collaboration with marine scientists, managers, government officials and industry will be needed to ensure an optimisation of the future monitoring programmes.