Interim Report of the Benthos Ecology Working Group (BEWG)
reportposted on 2016-08-15, 00:00 authored by ICESICES
The Benthos Ecology Working Group (BEWG) was hosted by the Instituto Português do Mar e da Atmosfera (IPMA) and held its 2016 meeting at IPMA’s Department of Sea and Marine Resources in Lisbon, Portugal. The meeting was attended by 28 participants, rep-resenting eleven countries.The meeting was structured along the four BEWG core business issues. The group con-tinues to provide insights on the field of benthic ecology, with main emphasis on:• Long-term series and climate change considering the methodological aspects of time-series;• Ensuring that the Benthic Long-term Series Network (BELT-Net) engages with existing initiatives (e.g. EMODnet);• Further developments of species distribution modelling and mapping;• Enhanced understanding on the linkages between ecosystem biodiversity and functioning;• Developments in effective monitoring programmes (including design, harmo-nisation and quality assessments);• Understanding benthic biodiversity and conservation: the role of MPA’s;• Providing expert advice and support to the OSPAR COBAM’s request in rela-tion to the sensitivity of benthic habitats to fishing effects.There are also eight ongoing initiatives developed and discussed during the meeting:• Case study: “Potential methodological issues in long-term comparability”;• Case study: “Towards a benthic ecosystem functioning map: interregional comparison of two approaches”;• Case study: “Variability in expert assessment of benthic species tolerances /sensitivities”;• Case study: “Proposal for a joint /co-ordinated monitoring: outcomes of the benthic work under the Joint Monitoring Programme”;• Case study: “Changes in functional composition along sediment gradients”;• Case study: “To identify the links between benthic functions and ecosystems services”;• Case study: “Meeting benthic functional indicator needs of the MSFD”;• Case study: “A benthic ecology perspective for evaluating the effectiveness of MPA’s”.There were also dedicated recommendations for consideration under the ICES Council, these are provided in detail in Annex 3.