NIVA Denmark Water Research

Copenhagen, Denmark

NIVA Denmark Water Research

Copenhagen, Denmark
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Andersen J.H.,Danmark A/S | Murray C.,University of Aarhus | Larsen M.M.,University of Aarhus | Green N.,Norwegian Institute for Water Research | And 10 more authors.
Environmental monitoring and assessment | Year: 2016

We report the development and application of a prototype tool for integrated assessment of chemical status in aquatic environments based on substance- and matrix-specific environmental assessment criteria (thresholds). The Chemical Status Assessment Tool (CHASE) integrates data on hazardous substances in water, sediments and biota as well as bio-effect indicators and is based on a substance- or bio-effect-specific calculation of a 'contamination ratio' being the ratio between an observed concentration and a threshold value. Values <1.0 indicate areas potentially 'unaffected', while values >1.0 indicate areas potentially 'affected'. These ratios are combined within matrices, i.e. for water, sediment and biota and for biological effects. The overall assessment used a 'one out, all out principle' with regard to each matrix. The CHASE tool was tested in the Baltic Sea and the North Sea in 376 assessment units. In the former, the chemical status was >1.0 in practically all areas indicating that all areas assessed were potentially affected. The North Sea included areas classified as unaffected or affected. The CHASE tool can in combination with temporal trend assessments of individual substances be advantageous for use in remedial action plans and, in particular, for the science-based evaluation of the status and for determining which specific substances are responsible for a status as potentially affected.


Uusitalo L.,Finnish Environment Institute | Korpinen S.,Finnish Environment Institute | Andersen J.H.,NIVA Denmark Water Research | Niiranen S.,University of Stockholm | And 3 more authors.
Continental Shelf Research | Year: 2015

Efforts to attain good environmental status in the marine realm require decisions which cannot be done without knowledge of effects of different management measures. Given the wide diversity of marine ecosystems, multitude of pressures affecting it and the still poor understanding on linkages between those, there are likely no models available to give all the required answers. Hence, several separate approaches can be used in parallel to give support for management measures. We tested three completely different methods - a spatial impact index, a food web model and a Bayesian expert method. We found that a large uncertainty existed regarding the ecosystem response to the management scenarios, and that the three different modelling approaches complemented each other. The models indicated that in order to reach an improved overall state of the ecosystem nutrient reductions are the more effective of the two management variables explored, and that cumulative effects of the management of nutrient inputs and fishing mortality are likely to exist. © 2015 The Authors.


Riemann B.,University of Aarhus | Carstensen J.,University of Aarhus | Dahl K.,University of Aarhus | Fossing H.,University of Aarhus | And 9 more authors.
Estuaries and Coasts | Year: 2016

In the 1980s, Danish coastal waters suffered from eutrophication and several nutrient management plans have been implemented during the years to improve ecological status. This study aims at giving a holistic ecosystem perspective on 25 years of mitigation measures. We report trends of nutrient inputs and the responses to these in various chemical and biological components. Nutrient inputs from land were reduced by ~50 % for nitrogen (N) and 56 % for phosphorus (P) since 1990. These reductions resulted in significant and parallel declines in nutrient concentrations, and initiated a shift in the dominance of primary producers towards reduced phytoplankton biomass (chlorophyll a concentration) and increased cover of macroalgae in deeper waters. In the last 5 years, eelgrass meadows have also expanded towards deeper waters, in response to improving water clarity. An expected improvement of bottom water oxygen conditions has not been observed, presumably because more frequent stratification and higher water temperatures have counteracted the expected positive effects of reduced nutrient inputs. The biomass of the benthic macrofauna decreased as expected, but it was composed of a drastic decline of filter feeders paralleled by a more moderate increase of deposit feeders. This shift was most likely induced by increasing stratification. The reduced benthic filtration along with the limited eelgrass cover probably kept relatively more particles in suspension, which can explain why improvements in the Secchi depths were modest. Overall, several ecosystem components demonstrated clear signs of improvement, suggesting that at least partial recovery is attainable. On this basis, we propose a conceptual scheme for recovery of shallow coastal ecosystems following marked reductions in nutrient inputs. © 2015, The Author(s).


Andersen J.H.,NIVA Denmark Water Research | Andersen J.H.,Marine Research Center | Halpern B.S.,University of California | Halpern B.S.,National Center for Ecological Analysis And Synthesis | And 4 more authors.
Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science | Year: 2015

Many studies have tried to explain spatial and temporal variations in biodiversity status of marine areas from a single-issue perspective, such as fishing pressure or coastal pollution, yet most continental seas experience a wide range of human pressures. Cumulative impact assessments have been developed to capture the consequences of multiple stressors for biodiversity, but the ability of these assessments to accurately predict biodiversity status has never been tested or ground-truthed. This relationship has similarly been assumed for the Baltic Sea, especially in areas with impaired status, but has also never been documented. Here we provide a first tentative indication that cumulative human impacts relate to ecosystem condition, i.e. biodiversity status, in the Baltic Sea. Thus, cumulative impact assessments offer a promising tool for informed marine spatial planning, designation of marine protected areas and ecosystem-based management, and may prove useful for setting limits on allowable levels of human impact on ecosystems. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


Elliott M.,University of Hull | Borja A.,Tecnalia | McQuatters-Gollop A.,Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science | Mazik K.,University of Hull | And 4 more authors.
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2015

The EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) requires that Good Environmental Status (GEnS), is achieved for European seas by 2020. These may deviate from GEnS, its 11 Descriptors, targets and baselines, due to endogenic managed pressures (from activities within an area) and externally due to exogenic unmanaged pressures (e.g. climate change). Conceptual models detail the likely or perceived changes expected on marine biodiversity and GEnS Descriptors in the light of climate change. We emphasise that marine management has to accommodate '. shifting baselines' caused by climate change particularly during GEnS monitoring, assessment and management and '. unbounded boundaries' given the migration and dispersal of highly-mobile species. We suggest climate change may prevent GEnS being met, but Member States may rebut legal challenges by claiming that this is outside its control, force majeure or due to 'natural causes' (Article 14 of the MSFD). The analysis is relevant to management of other global seas. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


PubMed | University of Aarhus, Thunen Institute of Fisheries Ecology, NIVA Denmark Water Research, Marine Research Center and 3 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Environmental monitoring and assessment | Year: 2016

We report the development and application of a prototype tool for integrated assessment of chemical status in aquatic environments based on substance- and matrix-specific environmental assessment criteria (thresholds). The Chemical Status Assessment Tool (CHASE) integrates data on hazardous substances in water, sediments and biota as well as bio-effect indicators and is based on a substance- or bio-effect-specific calculation of a contamination ratio being the ratio between an observed concentration and a threshold value. Values <1.0 indicate areas potentially unaffected, while values >1.0 indicate areas potentially affected. These ratios are combined within matrices, i.e. for water, sediment and biota and for biological effects. The overall assessment used a one out, all out principle with regard to each matrix. The CHASE tool was tested in the Baltic Sea and the North Sea in 376 assessment units. In the former, the chemical status was >1.0 in practically all areas indicating that all areas assessed were potentially affected. The North Sea included areas classified as unaffected or affected. The CHASE tool can in combination with temporal trend assessments of individual substances be advantageous for use in remedial action plans and, in particular, for the science-based evaluation of the status and for determining which specific substances are responsible for a status as potentially affected.


PubMed | University of Aarhus, NIVA Denmark Water Research, University of Helsinki, Lund University and 2 more.
Type: | Journal: Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society | Year: 2015

Much of the Baltic Sea is currently classified as affected by eutrophication. The causes for this are twofold. First, current levels of nutrient inputs (nitrogen and phosphorus) from human activities exceed the natural processing capacity with an accumulation of nutrients in the Baltic Sea over the last 50-100 years. Secondly, the Baltic Sea is naturally susceptible to nutrient enrichment due to a combination of long retention times and stratification restricting ventilation of deep waters. Here, based on a unique data set collated from research activities and long-term monitoring programs, we report on the temporal and spatial trends of eutrophication status for the open Baltic Sea over a 112-year period using the HELCOM Eutrophication Assessment Tool (HEAT 3.0). Further, we analyse variation in the confidence of the eutrophication status assessment based on a systematic quantitative approach using coefficients of variation in the observations. The classifications in our assessment indicate that the first signs of eutrophication emerged in the mid-1950s and the central parts of the Baltic Sea changed from being unaffected by eutrophication to being affected. We document improvements in eutrophication status that are direct consequences of long-term efforts to reduce the inputs of nutrients. The reductions in both nitrogen and phosphorus loads have led to large-scale alleviation of eutrophication and to a healthier Baltic Sea. Reduced confidence in our assessment is seen more recently due to reductions in the scope of monitoring programs. Our study sets a baseline for implementation of the ecosystem-based management strategies and policies currently in place including the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directives and the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan.


PubMed | University of Aarhus, NIVA Denmark Water Research, Norwegian Institute for Water Research, Finnish Environment Institute and 2 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Ambio | Year: 2016

We review approaches and tools currently used in Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden) for integrated assessment of ecological status sensu the EU Water Framework Directive as well as assessment of eutrophication status in coastal and marine waters. Integration principles for combining indicators within biological quality elements (BQEs) and combining BQEs into a final-integrated assessment are discussed. Specific focus has been put on combining different types of information into indices, since several methods are currently employed. As a consequence of the variety of methods used, comparisons across both BQEs and water categories (river, lakes and coastal waters) can be difficult. Based on our analyses, we conclude that some principles and methods for integration can be critical and that a harmonised approach should be developed. Further, we conclude that the integration principles applied within BQEs are critical and in need of harmonisation if we want a better understanding of potential transition in ecological status between surface water types, e.g. when riverine water enters a downstream lake or coastal water body.


PubMed | Institute For Hydrobiologie Und Fischereiwissenschaft, NIVA Denmark Water Research, Center for Environment, University of Hull and 2 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Marine pollution bulletin | Year: 2015

The EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) requires that Good Environmental Status (GEnS), is achieved for European seas by 2020. These may deviate from GEnS, its 11 Descriptors, targets and baselines, due to endogenic managed pressures (from activities within an area) and externally due to exogenic unmanaged pressures (e.g. climate change). Conceptual models detail the likely or perceived changes expected on marine biodiversity and GEnS Descriptors in the light of climate change. We emphasise that marine management has to accommodate shifting baselines caused by climate change particularly during GEnS monitoring, assessment and management and unbounded boundaries given the migration and dispersal of highly-mobile species. We suggest climate change may prevent GEnS being met, but Member States may rebut legal challenges by claiming that this is outside its control, force majeure or due to natural causes (Article 14 of the MSFD). The analysis is relevant to management of other global seas.


News Article | March 4, 2016
Site: www.scientificcomputing.com

The new tool, called NEAT — Nested Environmental status Assessment Tool — is designed to support the assessment of marine areas by the environmental authorities of EU Member States, and also by the Regional Seas Conventions and for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. It integrates a previously released tool that includes over 500 indicators used or being developed by European Member States and can be used for all types of environmental assessment. "NEAT allows us to assess the environmental status of European seas in an integrative way," says Dr. Borja of AZTI in Spain, an expert on marine biodiversity and coordinator of the European research project DEVOTES. "This is the result of collaborative effort of 23 partners, distributed across 14 countries, after four years of research in the Baltic, Atlantic, Mediterranean and Black Seas" says Borja. "Our research is important for improving the understanding of the effects of human activities on marine biodiversity, as well as variations due to climate change." "Marine health assessments are complex," says Borja, "but this tool makes the task much easier." According to Torsten Berg from MariLim in Germany, who is one of the authors of the software, "some of these tools can be difficult to use, so we worked hard to make a user-friendly interface." Using NEAT is simple, users first select the regional sea in which thee want to assess the status, and then choose the appropriate indicators, habitats and ecosystem components for a specific area within the regional sea. "NEAT determines the uncertainty of indicator values, so you can evaluate the confidence of your assessment. The more indicators and data you use, the better the assessment will be," highlights Jacob Carstensen from Aarhus University, an environmental statistician who worked on the development of the tool. But the very best of NEAT is its flexibility, "users can customize each step of the assessment, and the assessment better reflects the reality of the area," adds Jesper Andersen, from NIVA Denmark Water Research, who is one of the designers of the idea, "NEAT is so versatile that it can also be used for other types of environmental assessment, not just marine biodiversity." So, it could also be used by firms and consultancies that carry out all types of environmental assessment. NEAT and its guidelines are freely available from the DEVOTES Web site: www.devotes-project.eu/neat. In the coming months, NEAT will be enhanced with even more features and possibilities to perform a tailor-made biodiversity assessment. Updates will be released regularly. Project members are now disseminating the tool and organizing training workshops in member states and for regional seas conventions. "We have already demonstrated the tool to authorities in Portugal and Spain," says Alice Newton, from NILU in Norway and the University of Algarve in Portugal, "and it has been well-received by the Regional Seas Conventions." The DEVOTES project will be featured by the Euronews TV channel in June 2016 and will hold a conference in Brussels in October for key stakeholders and leading scientists. The theme of the conference is "Marine Biodiversity, the key to healthy and productive seas." Explore further: Clean seas by 2020: Scientists identify main environmental 'stressors' in the Mediterranean and Black Seas

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