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Steinau an der Straße, Germany

Schiele K.S.,Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research | Darr A.,Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research | Zettler M.L.,Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research | Friedland R.,Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research | And 3 more authors.
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2015

Full-coverage maps on the distribution of marine biotopes are a necessary basis for Nature Conservation and Marine Spatial Planning. Yet biotope maps do not exist in many regions. We are generating the first full-coverage biotope map for the German Baltic Sea according to the HELCOM Underwater biotope and habitat classification system (HUB). Species distribution modelling is applied to create full-coverage spatial information of biological features. The results of biomass modelling of twelve target taxa and presence/absence modelling of three target taxa enabled the identification of biological levels up to HUB level 6. Environmental data on bathymetry, light penetration depth and substrate are used to identify habitat levels. HUB biotope levels were combined with HUB habitat levels to create a biotope map. Altogether, 68 HUB biotopes are identified in the German Baltic Sea. The new biotope map combining substrate characteristics and biological communities will facilitate marine management in the area. © 2015. Source

Berg C.,University of Graz | Abdank A.,State Agency for Environment | Isermann M.,University of Bremen | Jansen F.,Free University of Berlin | And 4 more authors.
Applied Vegetation Science | Year: 2014

Aims: Red Lists of threatened species are a well-established conservation tool throughout the world. In contrast, Red Lists of ecosystems, habitats or plant community types have only recently found interest at the global level, although they have a longer tradition in Central Europe. We contribute to the debate by presenting and discussing a comprehensive conservation assessment methodology for plant communities that was developed within the framework of the project 'The plant communities of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and their vulnerability'. Location: Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Northeast Germany (23,174 km2). Approach: Our approach adopts various concepts from modern red listing and prioritization at various organizational levels of biodiversity, and combines them into a methodological framework applicable for regional to continental Red Lists of plant communities. For each distinguished plant community, three steps are carried out, i.e. (1) assessment of endangerment (scientific part, using the three criteria 'past trend', 'current status' and 'prognosis'), (2) assessment of conservation value (normative part, using the three criteria 'degree of naturalness', 'relevance for species conservation' and 'global relevance'), and (3) a combination of (1) and (2) to derive a need for action (conservation prioritization). These steps are all based on the successive aggregation of quantitative criteria via decision matrices, which makes the assessment process transparent, avoids definition gaps and allows easy adjustment of the decision rules. Conclusions: Plant community types derived from well-documented classifications of extensive vegetation-plot databases in combination with a transparent conservation assessment methodology have great potential in nature conservation and environmental monitoring. We suggest that the presented methodology is an improvement on traditional expert judgments as it separates the scientific and normative parts of the evaluation and uses clear, quantitative criteria and explicit rules to connect these into aggregated measures. It worked effectively and yielded meaningful results for a German federal state. By adjusting the scaling of the criteria, the approach can be adapted, as a whole or in part, to other regions or higher levels of ecosystem typology. © 2014 International Association for Vegetation Science. Source

Schiele K.S.,Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research | Darr A.,Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research | Zettler M.L.,Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research | Berg T.,MariLim Aquatic Research GmbH | And 9 more authors.
Ecological Indicators | Year: 2016

Evaluating the state of benthic communities has played an important role in water quality assessments. Indices incorporating species sensitivities, richness and densities are commonly applied. In Europe, the importance of benthic indices has increased in the last years with the implementation of the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) which at the same time demands the applicability of an index across regional scales. To date, environmental variability is rarely considered in benthic indices and most sensitivity rankings have the disadvantages of static values (i.e. the same value in all areas), expert judgement and a limited geographical range. This study presents species sensitivity values calculated along environmental gradients for the Baltic Sea. Sensitivities were calculated according to the procedure of the Benthic Quality Index (BQI). We created a matrix of subregions, classes of salinity, depth and gear to identify comparable subsets for data analysis. Altogether, 19 subsets were defined within the Baltic Sea basins. Sensitivity values were calculated for 329 species out of a total of 678 species that were recorded in this study. Sensitivity values of taxa vary between subsets as it was expected for different environmental conditions. Most sensitivity values can be assigned to species occurring in euhaline and polyhaline waters. Distribution of species with high and low sensitivity values differed along the salinity gradient. In euhaline waters more species with high sensitivity values occurred than species with low sensitivity values, while in mesohaline waters the ratio of high and low sensitivity values among species was almost equal. In oligohaline waters more species with lower sensitivity values were present. For the first time, sensitivity values were calculated for a large number of species using the same method for the entire Baltic Sea. This results in a Baltic-wide comprehensive set of sensitivity values based on a dataset across subregional borders, and divided along environmental gradients and gear type. The same principles can be applied to transient waters from rivers to coastal lagoons as well as to other environments with gradients of, e.g. hydrodynamic characteristics. Publicly available sensitivity values will increase transparency and support the improvement of state assessments under the MSFD. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Schernewski G.,Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research | Schernewski G.,Klaipeda University | Friedland R.,Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research | Carstens M.,State Agency for Environment | And 9 more authors.
Marine Policy | Year: 2015

A full re-calculation of Water Framework Directive reference and target concentrations for German coastal waters and the western Baltic Sea is presented, which includes a harmonization with HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) targets. Further, maximum allowable nutrient inputs (MAI) and target concentrations in rivers for the German Baltic catchments are suggested. For this purpose a spatially coupled, large scale and integrative modeling approach is used, which links the river basin flux model MONERIS to ERGOM-MOM, a three-dimensional ecosystem model of the Baltic Sea. The years around 1880 are considered as reference conditions reflecting a high ecological status and are reconstructed and simulated with the model system. Alternative approaches are briefly described, as well. For every WFD water body and the open sea, target concentrations for nitrogen and phosphorus compounds as well as chlorophyll a are provided by adding 50% to the reference concentrations. In general, the targets are less strict for coastal waters and slightly stricter for the sea (e.g. 1.2. mg/m3 chl.a summer average for the Bay of Mecklenburg), compared to current values. By taking into account the specifics of every water body, this approach overcomes the inconsistencies of earlier approaches. Our targets are well in agreement with the BSAP targets, but provide spatially refined and extended results. The full data are presented in Appendix A1 and A2.To reach the targets, German nitrogen inputs have to be reduced by 34%. Likely average maximum allowable concentrations in German Baltic rivers are between 2.6 and 3.1 mg N/l. However, the concrete value depends on the scenario and uncertainties with respect to atmospheric deposition. To our results, MAI according to the BSAP may be sufficient for the open sea, but are not sufficient to reach a good WFD status in German coastal waters. © 2014 The Authors. Source

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