A Synthesis of Marine Monitoring Methods With the Potential to Enhance the Status Assessment of the Baltic Sea

A multitude of anthropogenic pressures deteriorate the Baltic Sea, resulting in the need to protect and restore its marine ecosystem. For an efficient conservation, comprehensive monitoring and assessment of all ecosystem elements is of fundamental importance. The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission HELCOM coordinates conservation measures regulated by several European directives. However, this holistic assessment is hindered by gaps within the current monitoring schemes. Here, twenty-two novel methods with the potential to fill some of these gaps and improve the monitoring of the Baltic marine environment are examined. We asked key stakeholders to point out methods likely to improve current Baltic Sea monitoring. We then described these methods in a comparable way and evaluated them based on their costs and applicability potential (i.e., possibility to make them operational). Twelve methods require low to very low costs, while five require moderate and two high costs. Seventeen methods were rated with a high to very high applicability, whereas four methods had moderate and one low applicability for Baltic Sea monitoring. Methods with both low costs and a high applicability include the Manta Trawl, Rocket Sediment Corer, Argo Float, Artificial Substrates, Citizen Observation, Earth Observation, the HydroFIA®pH system, DNA Metabarcoding and Stable Isotope Analysis.

Mack, L., Attila, J., Aylagas, E., Beermann, A., Borja, A., Hering, D., … Birk, S. (2020). A Synthesis of Marine Monitoring Methods With the Potential to Enhance the Status Assessment of the Baltic Sea. Frontiers in Marine Science, 7. doi:10.3389/fmars.2020.552047

We thank Heidi Ahkola (SYKE), Matthias Labrenz (IOW), Jari Hänninen (UTU), Helena Filipsson (LU), Joanna Norkko (UH), Bengt Karlson (SMHI), and Eoin O’Gorman (Essex) for their help to collate information on the addressed methods. We are also grateful for the providers of the images to display the methods. We thank the stakeholders, which took part in the survey and shared their experiences and suggestions for an improved monitoring. We thank Jörg Strackbein (UDE) for establishing the online database of novel monitoring methods. Funding. This work resulted from the BONUS FUMARI project in collaboration with BONUS SEAM project, funded by BONUS (Art. 185), which is jointly funded by the EU, the Academy of Finland and the Swedish Research Council Formas. Furthermore, funding was received from the BmBF project MicroCatch_Balt, grant number 03F0788A and EA was supported by the Red Sea Research Center at KAUST. Data on ARMS and ASUs were obtained by DEVOTES (DEVelopment Of innovative Tools for understanding marine biodiversity and assessing good Environmental Status) project, funded by the European Union under the 7th Framework Programme, “The Ocean of Tomorrow” Theme (grant agreement no. 308392), www.devotes-project.eu.

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