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Oostende, Belgium

Lock K.,ECOAST Marine Research | Adriaens T.,Research Institute for Nature and Forest | Goethals P.,Ghent University
Limnologica | Year: 2014

To assess the ecological water quality in Flanders (northern part of Belgium), macroinvertebrates have been collected by the Flemish Environment Agency. During the present study, the blackflies collected between 1997 and 2009 were identified to species level. In total, more than 44,000 specimens were identified, belonging to 12 different species. Sensitive species were restricted to small brooks, while species tolerating lower oxygen concentrations and higher nutrient concentrations were also present in larger watercourses. Several species were either restricted to watercourses in the Campine region (northeast Flanders) or the loamy region (southern Flanders), while the other regions only contained eurytopic species. The prevalence of blackflies increased from less than 5% to almost 30% in the nineties, but did not further increase during the next decade. Habitat suitability models (logistic regressions, artificial neural networks, support vector machines and classification trees) could accurately predict the presence or absence of blackflies. An ensemble forecast, based on predicted oxygen and nutrient concentrations due to planned water quality improvement strategies, predicted that blackflies prevalence will rise to 42% in 2015 and 64% in 2027. Since blackflies only possess a moderate sensitivity, they could occur in all types of running waters with a good water quality. As a good ecological status is required by the European Union Water Framework Directive for all surface waters, it is thus apparent that more efforts will be needed to improve the water quality in Flanders. © 2013 Elsevier GmbH. Source

Boets P.,Ghent University | Thas O.,Ghent University | Thas O.,University of Wollongong | Van De Vijver E.,Ghent University | And 5 more authors.
Ecological Informatics | Year: 2013

To date, approaches in environmental risk assessment (ERA) are based on taxonomy-based descriptions of ecosystems. Due to the widespread occurrence of numerous types of chemicals in the environment and ensuing environmental risks, there is a need to get insight in the relationship between the response of the ecosystem to pollution and the characteristics (traits) of the organisms. The main hypothesis of the present research is that the trait composition of macroinvertebrate communities changes in a consistent manner along general environmental disturbance gradients. In this study, the relationship between maximal body length of macroinvertebrates and environmental variables (e.g. Cu concentration) reflecting river sediment quality in Flanders (Belgium) was analysed. It was found that the abundance at almost all body lengths decreased with a decreasing quality of the river sediment, which could be associated with a decrease in abundance of macroinvertebrate taxa. It was also observed that the number of different body lengths decreased with increasing pollution, which can be linked to a decrease in diversity of the macroinvertebrate community. At low levels of general environmental pollution especially small taxa (<. 20. mm) experienced negative effects, but with increasing pollution also the abundance of larger taxa (>. 60. mm) decreased. The trend observed for general environmental pollution was further analysed for specific types of metal contamination. Basic and zero-inflated Poisson models showed that with increasing copper pollution, the abundance of larger taxa quickly decreased and only relatively small taxa remained abundant. However, the observed trend was not generally applicable for all contaminants. The results of this research indicate that by using only individual metal concentrations it is not possible to explain the shifts in size distribution of macroinvertebrates. Including other environmental characteristics and other traits could enhance the understanding of how the macroinvertebrate community composition responds to environmental disturbances.© 2013 Elsevier B.V. Source

Faasse M.A.,ECOAST Marine Research | Faasse M.A.,Netherlands Center for Biodiversity Naturalis | Giangrande A.,University of Salento
Aquatic Invasions | Year: 2012

Bispira polyomma sp. nov. is described. The taxon was recently found on the SW coast of The Netherlands (NE Atlantic), and could not be referred to as any previously described species of the genus Bispira. The area has been thoroughly investigated in the past, therefore we hypothesize the species is a new introduction to The Netherlands. The tubeworm is able to settle massively on all kinds of hard substrates, is eurythermal and able to withstand slight pollution, and therefore wider dispersal is a possibility to reckon with. For this reason we give a taxonomic species description even though the genus needs further revision. Presently the taxon has been observed only near Yerseke, a centre of shellfish culture and trade with a marina. The taxon was found in 2010. Subsequent surveys revealed a very dense population had developed in 2011, with the presence of small individuals in summer 2011 suggesting successful reproduction. © 2012 REABIC. Source

Cook E.J.,Scottish Association for Marine Science | Stehlikova J.,Scottish Association for Marine Science | Stehlikova J.,University of the Highland and Islands | Beveridge C.M.,Scottish Association for Marine Science | And 3 more authors.
Aquatic Invasions | Year: 2013

The invasive bryozoan, Tricellaria inopinata d'Hondt & Occhipinti Ambrogi, 1985 was first recorded in European waters in the early 1980's and has since been reported from 166 locations from the Mediterranean Sea to the north-east Atlantic coastline. This species is typically associated with human activity, including commercial and recreational vessels and aquaculture, where it has been found in abundance on boat hulls and propellers, floating pontoons and structures associated with shellfish cultivation. Tricellaria inopinata has a high tolerance to a wide range of salinities and temperatures, although following the harsh winter of 2010, populations disappeared in Germany suggesting that this species is near the northern limit of its range under current climatic conditions. It is expected to continue to disperse though, throughout the Mediterranean, English Channel, North and Celtic Seas. © 2013 The Author(s). Source

Faasse M.A.,ECOAST Marine Research
Marine Biodiversity Records | Year: 2014

The north-west Atlantic amphipod Ptilohyale littoralis has been introduced to The Netherlands. After its initial discovery in the port of Rotterdam, additional specimens were collected near the national centre of shellfish trade and culture Yerseke and along the Westerschelde estuary, which leads to the port of Antwerp. © Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 2014. Source

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