The complex and dynamic nature of transitional ecosystems pose problems for the assessment of the Ecological Quality Status required by the European Water Framework Directive (WFD; 2000/60/EC). In six Adriatic lagoons, Ecological Quality Status was studied by comparing a biotic index based on macrophytes (MaQI), and three indices based on invertebrates (M-AMBI, M-bAMBI, and ISD). Ecological Status evaluated though MaQI and ISD resulted in quite degraded ecosystems (moderate/poor/bad), with only opportunistic algae and macrobenthic communities dominated by small size classes. Those results were supported by physico-chemical parameters, indicating high nutrients inputs, and anthropogenic pressures related with agriculture and fishery activities. Ecological Status obtained with M-AMBI and M-bAMBI was higher, with some sites reaching even the “good” status. The best response to anthropogenic pressures, in terms of a pressure index, was obtained by MAMBI and M-bAMBI. Nevertheless, the response of used metrics (such as AMBI and bAMBI) to environmental variables not related to anthropogenic impact, and the high heterogeneity of physical—chemical conditions within lagoons, represent potential problems for the correct evaluation of Ecological Status of transitional waters. When different metrics give different responses it becomes a problem for managers who cannot easily make a decision on the remedial measures. The disagreement among indices arose because of the different response of biological elements to different stressors, and because the different indices based on macroinvertebrates focused on different aspects of the community, providing complementary information. So urge the need to find alternative approaches for a correct assessment of Ecological Status, with the combination of different biological elements, and considering the development of new indices (e.g. M-bAMBI) or refinement of the existing ones.

The complex and dynamic nature of transitional ecosystems pose problems for the assessment of the Ecological Quality Status required by the European Water Framework Directive (WFD; 2000/60/EC). In six Adriatic lagoons, Ecological Quality Status was studied by comparing a biotic index based on macrophytes (MaQI), and three indices based on invertebrates (M-AMBI, M-bAMBI, and ISD). Ecological Status evaluated though MaQI and ISD resulted in quite degraded ecosystems (moderate/poor/bad), with only opportunistic algae and macrobenthic communities dominated by small size classes. Those results were supported by physico-chemical parameters, indicating high nutrients inputs, and anthropogenic pressures related with agriculture and fishery activities. Ecological Status obtained with M-AMBI and M-bAMBI was higher, with some sites reaching even the "good" status. The best response to anthropogenic pressures, in terms of a pressure index, was obtained by M-AMBI and M-bAMBI. Nevertheless, the response of used metrics (such as AMBI and bAMBI) to environmental variables not related to anthropogenic impact, and the high heterogeneity of physical-chemical conditions within lagoons, represent potential problems for the correct evaluation of Ecological Status of transitional waters. When different metrics give different responses it becomes a problem for managers who cannot easily make a decision on the remedial measures. The disagreement among indices arose because of the different response of biological elements to different stressors, and because the different indices based on macroinvertebrates focused on different aspects of the community, providing complementary information. So urge the need to find alternative approaches for a correct assessment of Ecological Status, with the combination of different biological elements, and considering the development of new indices (e.g. M-bAMBI) or refinement of the existing ones.

The difficulty of disentangling natural from anthropogenic forcing factors makes the evaluation of ecological quality problematic: A case study from Adriatic lagoons

Adriano Sfriso;Andrea Sfriso;
2019

Abstract

The complex and dynamic nature of transitional ecosystems pose problems for the assessment of the Ecological Quality Status required by the European Water Framework Directive (WFD; 2000/60/EC). In six Adriatic lagoons, Ecological Quality Status was studied by comparing a biotic index based on macrophytes (MaQI), and three indices based on invertebrates (M-AMBI, M-bAMBI, and ISD). Ecological Status evaluated though MaQI and ISD resulted in quite degraded ecosystems (moderate/poor/bad), with only opportunistic algae and macrobenthic communities dominated by small size classes. Those results were supported by physico-chemical parameters, indicating high nutrients inputs, and anthropogenic pressures related with agriculture and fishery activities. Ecological Status obtained with M-AMBI and M-bAMBI was higher, with some sites reaching even the “good” status. The best response to anthropogenic pressures, in terms of a pressure index, was obtained by MAMBI and M-bAMBI. Nevertheless, the response of used metrics (such as AMBI and bAMBI) to environmental variables not related to anthropogenic impact, and the high heterogeneity of physical—chemical conditions within lagoons, represent potential problems for the correct evaluation of Ecological Status of transitional waters. When different metrics give different responses it becomes a problem for managers who cannot easily make a decision on the remedial measures. The disagreement among indices arose because of the different response of biological elements to different stressors, and because the different indices based on macroinvertebrates focused on different aspects of the community, providing complementary information. So urge the need to find alternative approaches for a correct assessment of Ecological Status, with the combination of different biological elements, and considering the development of new indices (e.g. M-bAMBI) or refinement of the existing ones.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/3716378
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