Thursday, 05 April 2012 23:41

Macroalgae, a suitable indicator of the ecological status of coastal rocky communities in the NE Atlantic

Juanes, J.A., X. Guinda, A. Puente, J.A. Revilla. 2008.
Macroalgae, a suitable indicator of the ecological status of coastal rocky communities in the NE Atlantic.

Ecological indicators 8: 351 – 359.

Despite the great importance of shallow rocky communities (<30m deep) due to their contribution to the biodiversity of coastal waters, most efforts in ecological status assessment of marine waters have been carried out in the implementation of soft bottom biotic indices. Therefore, in this paper, a methodology for the environmental evaluation of coastal rocky communities for the Bay of Biscay (NE Atlantic), the CFR index (Quality of Rocky Bottoms), is presented. This index is based on the analysis of seaweed communities throughout the depth gradient, from the intertidal to the shallow subtidal, through the combination of a multimetric approach, which combines the richness of characteristic macroalgae populations, their total cover, the presence of opportunistic species and the physiological condition of the whole macroalgae community. Quality thresholds for these indicators are based on both ecological data and expert judgment. Finally, a preliminary application of this metric to sites with theoretically good and bad environmental conditions is used to analyze the suitability of the index. As a result, the four selected indicators responded in a significant way to the pressure gradient tested, proving to be appropriate for the type of pressure analysed and obtaining coherent results in the final quality assessment with the CFR index. In conclusion, the CFR index has proved to be an effective tool for the assessment of the ecological quality of coastal rocky communities, based on the analysis of macroalgae assemblages.

logo IH logo UC logo FIHC laj