International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
WGIAB 2016_Full report.pdf (1.19 MB)

Interim Report of the ICES/HELCOM Working Group on Integrated Assessments of the Baltic Sea (WGIAB)

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posted on 2016-01-01, 00:00 authored by ICESICES
The ICES/HELCOM Working Group on Integrated Assessments of the Baltic Sea (WGIAB) meeting was held in Helsinki (Finland), 18-22 April 2016. The meeting was attended by 26 participants from five countries and chaired by Laura Uusitalo, Fin-land, Saskia Otto, Germany, Martin Lindegren, Denmark, and Lena Bergström, Swe-den. This was the first year of the new three-year Terms of Reference (ToR) for WGIAB. The main working activities in 2016 were to A) develop the trait-based ap-proach of understanding the ecosystem function, and B) explore the social-ecological system, including indicator development, revising the conceptual model, and devel-oping case studies.As a primary outcome of the ToR A, we built on our previous work on integrated ecosystem assessments (IEAs) in the Baltic Sea, but extended it beyond considering changes in abundances of a few dominant species, to accounting for community-wide changes in a number of key traits across multiple trophic levels. These traits represent various ecosystem functions upon which we derive important ecosystem services. By investigating temporal changes in the community weighted mean traits of phyto-plankton, zooplankton, zoobenthos, and fish, we demonstrated whether trait reor-ganizations at the level of entire communities occurred in the Central Baltic Sea as a result of the 1980s regime shift. Using in total 29 traits combined for all groups we found indications of two breakpoints across all four taxonomic groups over the last decades, i.e. one around 1990 and one around 2000. Further work will focus on ex-ploring the nature of the changes in trait composition and on standardizing the num-ber of traits and data types (i.e. binary, continuous or categorical) across taxonomic group.


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