Marine policy

Here you will find links to some of the Plankton and Policy Team’s marine policy-related research. This section will always be expanding!

Bands of algae on a Romanian beach
Bands of algae on a Romanian beach

How well do ecosystem indicators communicate the effects of anthropogenic eutrophication? We often use indicators to talk about eutrophication. But does indicator interpretation depend on sea-specific knowledge of ecosystem characteristics? Can a single indicator be employed to adequately compare eutrophication state between European seas?

A Continuous Plankton Recorder

 Why is it so hard to set MSFD indicators and targets? Messages from the plankton Climate change is causing unprecedented basin-scale ecological changes in our seas. At the same time, marine ecological systems are also responding to human pressures such as fishing, nutrient loading and hydrological changes. How can we develop indicators and targets which respond account for these varying pressures? What are some of the challenges facing scientists and policy makers during the Marine Strategy Framework Directive implementation process? How can information from the Continuous Plankton Recorder survey help?

Visions for good environmental status in the North Sea – societal choice? The EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive requires Europe’s seas to achieve Good Environmental Status (GES) by 2020. The Directive, however, does not specify or describe GES. Is GES a purely scientific choice, a societal choice, or a combination of both?

Plankton indicator types require different levels of taxonomically-resolved data.

Plankton on the move: implications for global biodiversity goals Climate warming, ocean acidification, and human activities leading to the spread of invasive species are causing distributional shifts in plankton communities which directly affect ecosystem services such as carbon cycling, oxygen generation, and food production. At the same time we have committed to achieving sustainable development at a global scale. What do changing plankton systems mean for these international ambitions?

Developing pelagic biodiversity indicators for ecosystem-based management The Plankton Index, a trait-based indicator of change in plankton functional groups, allows the use of plankton data from multiple monitoring surveys. The first regional application of this approach in Northeast Atlantic (OSPAR) waters revealed that plankton communities underwent broad spatially-consistent, but significant, changes in plankton functional groups during the past decade.

Deconstructing the response of plankton lifeform indicators to climate change Models reveal clusters of plankton within lifeforms respond to environmental changes in different ways. Phytoplankton, whether individual taxa are dinoflagellates was a factor determining their response to SST. In contrast, none of the zooplankton groups showed a tendency towards a particular response, suggesting that factors other than lifeform group membership, such as biogeographic affinity, are more important in determining responses to SST change.These results have implications for both our understanding of plankton community responses to climate change, and in the formal assessment and monitoring of these changes under management frameworks.