Title: Developing Reference Conditions for Phytoplankton in the Baltic Coastal Waters Part I: Applicability of Historical and Long-Term Datasets for Reconstruction of Past Phytoplankton Conditions
Publication Year: 2005
JRC N°: JRC32862
Other Identifiers: EUR 21582 EN/1
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC32862
Type: EUR - Scientific and Technical Research Reports
Abstract: The EU Water Framework Directive has imposed new challenges for development of the surface water classification and assessment methods. The ecological quality assessment based on ecological quality ratios (EQRs) requires setting of type specific reference conditions for biological and chemical quality elements. One tasks of the CHARM project was to evaluate the applicability of different approaches and to provide guidance and tools for the establishment of reference conditions for phytoplankton in the Baltic Sea. In this report we evaluate the possibility to use historical data and long-term monitoring datasets to hind-cast past phytoplankton biomass and composition. We also discuss the potential applicability of paleoecological investigations, and dynamic modelling for reconstruction of historical reference conditions for phytoplankton indicators, such as biomass and composition of dominant taxonomic groups. The history of biological and oceanographical research in the Baltic Sea is relatively long in comparison to many other sea areas. Therefore it provides a unique possibility to evaluate the applicability of historical records for setting the reference conditions. In early 1900, a number of investigators carried out studies on composition and abundance of phytoplankton in several areas of the Baltic. However, the early studies were mostly based on qualitative sampling and covered only limited spatial and temporal scales. The methodological differences in sampling and in analytical methods, makes it very difficult to compare historical data with present day monitoring results. The potential approaches allowing proper comparison of current and historical data would require that the ‘reconstructed’ historical methods were calibrated against the current sampling and analytical methods throughout the seasonal cycle in several coastal type-areas. However, such approach is beyond the scope of the CHARM project. Instead we evaluated the historical records using ‘expert opinion’ (e.g. evaluation which species would have not been sampled by early researchers and scoring the dominance and abundance evaluations of the early researchers with most probable corresponding scoring of current data).
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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