Advertisement

Biogeochemistry

, Volume 106, Issue 2, pp 157–175 | Cite as

Searching for undesirable disturbance: an application of the OSPAR eutrophication assessment method to marine waters of England and Wales

  • Jo FodenEmail author
  • Michelle J. Devlin
  • David K. Mills
  • Stephen J. Malcolm
Article

Abstract

The OSPAR Eutrophication Strategy requires assessment of eutrophication to be based on the ecological consequences of nutrient enrichment and not just on nutrient enrichment alone, i.e. finding reliable evidence for accelerated growth of algae and higher forms of plant life caused by anthropogenic nutrient enrichment, leading to undesirable disturbance. Fully flushed marine waters of England and Wales (salinity >30) were assessed against OSPAR’s harmonised criteria of nutrient concentration and ratios, chlorophyll concentrations, phytoplankton indicator species, macrophytes, dissolved oxygen (DO) levels, incidence of fish kills and changes in the zoobenthos, using region specific thresholds. None of the thirteen assessment areas, including six nutrient enriched areas, exhibited evidence for undesirable disturbance. This paper details the methods and the overall outcome of the assessment. It presents evidence that undesirable disturbance caused by nutrient enrichment was not detected in English and Welsh marine waters assessed under the OSPAR procedure. The main reasons for the lack of eutrophication problems, such as the underwater light climate limiting the accelerated growth of algae, which might otherwise result from nutrient enrichment, are discussed.

Keywords

Accelerated growth Eutrophication Assessment criteria Marine OSPAR Undesirable disturbance 

References

  1. Aitchison J (1986) The statistical analysis of compositional data, monographs on statistics and applied probability. Chapman & Hall, LondonGoogle Scholar
  2. Allen JI, Smyth TJ, Siddorn JR et al (2008) How well can we forecast high biomass algal bloom events in a eutrophic coastal sea? Harmful Algae 8(1):70–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Best MA, Wither AW, Coates S (2007) Dissolved oxygen as a physico-chemical supporting element in the Water Framework Directive. Mar Pollut Bull 55(1–6):53–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Borja Á, Franco J, Pérez V (2000) A marine biotic index to establish the ecological quality of soft-bottom benthos within European estuarine and coastal environments. Mar Pollut Bull 40(12):1100–1114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bricker SB, Clement CG, Pirhalla DE et al (1999) National Estuarine Eutrophication Assessment: effects of nutrient enrichment in the nation’s estuaries. NOAA National Ocean Service, Special Projects Office, Silver SpringGoogle Scholar
  6. Bricker SB, Ferreira JG, Simas T (2003) An integrated methodology for assessment of estuarine trophic status. Ecol Model 169:39–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bricker S, Longstaff B, Dennison W et al (2007) Effects of nutrient enrichment in the nation’s estuaries: a decade of change. NOAA coastal ocean program decision analysis series no. 26. National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, Silver SpringGoogle Scholar
  8. Burkholder JM, Glasgow HB, Deamer-Melia NJ et al (2001) Species of the toxic Pfiesteria complex, and the importance of functional type in data interpretation. Environ Health Perspect 109(5):667–679CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Carpenter SR, Caraco NF, Correll DL et al (1998) Non-point pollution of surface waters with phosphorous and nitrogen. Ecol Appl 8(3):559–568CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. CEC (2000) Council Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy. Off J Eur Commun L327:1–73Google Scholar
  11. CEC (2006) Council Directive 2006/113/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on the quality required of shellfish waters. Off J Eur Commun L376:1–7Google Scholar
  12. Clarke KR, Warwick RM (1994) Change in marine communities: an approach to statistical analysis and interpretation. Natural Environmental Research Council, PlymouthGoogle Scholar
  13. Cloern JE (2001) Our evolving conceptual model of the coastal eutrophication problem. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 210:223–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Codling ID, Ashley SJ (1992) Development of a biotic index for the assessment of pollution status of marine benthic communities. Water Research Council Report No. SR 2995, MarlowGoogle Scholar
  15. Conley DJ, Carstensen J, Vaquer-Sunyer R, Duarte CM (2009) Ecosystem thresholds with hypoxia. Hydrobiologia 629:21–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dahl E, Tangen K (1993) 25 years experience with Gyrodynium aureolum in Norwegian waters. In: Smayda TJ, Shimizu Y (eds) Toxic phytoplankton blooms in the sea. Elsevier, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  17. de Jonge VN, Elliott M (2001) Eutrophication. In: Steele JH (ed) Encyclopedia of ocean sciences. Academic Press, Oxford, pp 852–870CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. de Jonge VN, Elliott M, Orive E (2002) Causes, historical development, effects and future challenges of a common environmental problem: eutrophication. Hydrobiologia 475(476):1–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Devlin MJ, Painting S, Best M (2007a) Setting nutrient thresholds to support an ecological assessment based on nutrient enrichment, potential primary production and undesirable disturbance. Mar Pollut Bull 55:1–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Devlin MJ, Best M, Coates D et al (2007b) Establishing boundary classes for the classification of UK marine waters using phytoplankton communities. Mar Pollut Bull 55:91–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Devlin MJ, Barry J, Mills DK et al (2008) Relationships between suspended particulate material, light attenuation and Secchi depth in UK marine waters. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 79:429–439CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Devlin MJ, Barry J, Mills DK et al (2009) Estimating the diffuse attenuation coefficient from optically active constituents in UK marine waters. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 82:73–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Duarte CM (2009) Coastal eutrophication research: a new awareness. Hydrobiologia 629:263–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Duarte CM, Conley DJ, Carstensen J, Sánchez-Camacho M (2009) Return to Neverland: shifting baselines affect eutrophication restoration targets. Estuar Coasts 32:29–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. ECJ (2009) European Court of Justice ruling of 10 December 2009 Case C-390/09 Commission v United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. European Court Report I-0000Google Scholar
  26. Fehling J, Davidson K, Bolch C, Tett P (2006) Seasonality of Pseudo-nitzschia spp. (Bacillariophyceae) in western Scottish waters. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 323:91–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Foden J, Sivyer DB, Mills DK et al (2008) Spatial and temporal distribution of chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) fluorescence and its contribution to light attenuation in UK waterbodies. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 79:707–717CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Food Hygiene (England) Regulations (2006) Statutory instruments 14 2006 (Anon.). Corporate Author: Great Britain. Publisher: TSO (The Stationery Office Ltd), p 39Google Scholar
  29. Fryer RJ, Nicholson MD (1999) Using smoothers for comprehensive assessments of contaminant time series in marine biota. ICES J Mar Sci 56:779–790CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Geider RJ, La Roche J (2002) Redfield revisited: variability of C:N:P in marine microalgae and its biochemical basis. Eur J Phycol 37(1):1–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Geider RJ, MacIntyre HL, Kana TM (1998) A dynamic regulatory model of phytoplanktonic acclimation to light, nutrients, and temperature. Limnol Oceanogr 43(4):679–694CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Gibson CE, Stewart BM, Gowen RJ (1997) A synoptic study of nutrients in the north-west Irish Sea. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 45:27–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Gillbricht M (1988) Phytoplankton and nutrients in the Helgoland region. Helgol Meeresunters 42:435–467CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Gowen RJ, Stewart BM (2005) The Irish Sea: nutrient status and phytoplankton. J Sea Res 54:36–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Gowen RJ, Hydes DJ, Mills DK et al (2002) Assessing trends in nutrient concentrations in coastal shelf seas: a case study in the Irish Sea. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 54(6):927–939CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Gowen RJ, Tett P, Kennington K et al (2008) The Irish Sea: is it eutrophic? Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 76(2):239–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. House WA, Jickells TD, Edwards AC et al (1998) Reactions of phosphorus with sediments in fresh and marine waters. Soil Use Manag 14(Suppl):139–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Hydes D, Mills D, Heath M (2007) Impacts of climate change on nutrient enrichment in marine climate change impacts annual report card 2007. In: Buckley PJ, Dye SR, Baxter JM (eds) Online summary reports, MCCIP, Lowestoft. http://www.mccip.org.uk
  39. Kennington K, Shammon TM, Kraberg A et al (2003) The distribution of nutrient and phytoplankton in the eastern Irish Sea during 2001. R&D Tech Rep E1049/TR5. Environment Agency, R&D Dissemination Centre, c/o WRc SwindonGoogle Scholar
  40. Kennington K, Wither A, Shammon TM et al (2004) The distribution of nutrient and phytoplankton in the eastern Irish Sea during 2002. R&D Tech Rep E1049/TR6. Environment Agency, R&D Dissemination Centre, c/o WRc SwindonGoogle Scholar
  41. Kennington K, Wither A, Shammon TM et al (2005) The distribution of nutrient and phytoplankton in the north-eastern Irish Sea during 2003. R&D Tech Rep E1049/TR7. Environment Agency, R&D Dissemination Centre, c/o WRc SwindonGoogle Scholar
  42. Künitzer A, Basford D, Craeymeersch JA et al (1992) The benthic infauna of the North Sea: species distribution and assemblages. ICES J Mar Sci 49:127–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Lancelot C, Billen G, Sournia A et al (1987) Phaeocystis blooms and nutrient enrichment in the continental coastal zones of the North Sea. Ambio 16:38–46Google Scholar
  44. Law R, Hustwayte G, Sims D (2005) Monitoring of the quality of the marine environment, 2002–2003. Science Series Aquatic Environment Monitoring Report 57. Cefas, LowestoftGoogle Scholar
  45. Marine Environment Monitoring Group (Cefas) (2004) UK National Marine Monitoring Programme—second report (1999–2001). Cefas, p 138. http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/marine/documents/science/merman/nmmp1.pdf
  46. Martin JL, Hanke AR, LeGresley MM (2009) Long term phytoplankton monitoring, including harmful algal blooms, in the Bay of Fundy, eastern Canada. J Sea Res 61(1–2):76–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. McQuatters-Gollop A, Raitsos DE, Edwards M et al (2007) A long-term chlorophyll data set reveals regime shift in North Sea phytoplankton biomass unconnected to nutrient trends. Limnol Oceanogr 52(2):635–648CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Mills DK, Laane RWPM, Rees JM et al (2003) SmartBuoy: a marine environmental monitoring buoy with a difference. In: Building the European capacity in Operational Oceanography. Proceedings of the 3rd international conference on EuroGOOS conference, 3–6 Dec 2002, Oceanography Series, vol 69. Elsevier, Athens, pp 311–316Google Scholar
  49. Nixon SW (1995) Coastal marine eutrophication: a definition, social causes, and future concerns. Ophelia 41:199–219Google Scholar
  50. Nixon SW (2009) Eutrophication and the macroscope. Hydrobiologia 629:5–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Nixon SW, Gunby A, Ashley SJ et al (1995) Development and testing of General Quality Assessment schemes: dissolved oxygen and ammonia in estuaries. R&D Tech Project Record PR 469/15/HO. Environment Agency, R&D Dissemination Centre, c/o WRc SwindonGoogle Scholar
  52. OSPAR Commission (2003) OSPAR integrated report 2003 on the eutrophication status of the OSPAR maritime area based upon the first application of the Comprehensive Procedure. OSPAR Eutrophication Series, publication 189/2003. OSPAR Commission, LondonGoogle Scholar
  53. OSPAR Commission (2005) Common procedure for the identification of the eutrophication status of the OSPAR maritime area. Agreement 2005-3. OSPAR Commission, London, p 36Google Scholar
  54. OSPAR Commission (2008) Second OSPAR integrated report on the eutrophication status of the OSPAR maritime area. OSPAR Eutrophication Series, publication 372/2008. OSPAR Commission, London, p 107Google Scholar
  55. Painting S, Devlin MJ, Rogers S et al (2005) Assessing the suitability of OSPAR EcoQOs for eutrophication vs ICES criteria for England and Wales. Mar Pollut Bull 50:569–1584CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Painting SJ, Devlin MJ, Malcolm MJ et al (2007) Assessing the impact of nutrient enrichment in estuaries: susceptibility to eutrophication. Mar Pollut Bull 55(1–6):74–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Rogers S, Allen J, Balson P, Boyle R et al (2003) Typology for the Transitional and Coastal Waters for UK and Ireland (Contractors: Aqua-fact International Services Ltd, BGS, CEFAS, IECS, JNCC). Funded by Scotland and Northern Ireland Forum for Environmental Research, Edinburgh and Environment Agency of England and Wales. SNIFFER Contract ref: WFD07 (230/8030), 94 ppGoogle Scholar
  58. Ruddick KG, Gons HJ, Rijkeboer M et al (2001) Optical remote sensing of chlorophyll a in case 2 waters by use of an adaptive two-band algorithm with optimal error properties. Appl Opt 40:3575–3585CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Scanlan CM, Foden J, Wells E et al (2007) The monitoring of opportunistic macroalgal blooms for the water framework directive. Mar Pollut Bull 55(1–6):162–171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Stiff MJ, Cartwright NG, Crane RI (1992) Environmental quality standards for dissolved oxygen. R&D Note NR2415/1/4226. Environment Agency, R&D Dissemination Centre, c/o WRc SwindonGoogle Scholar
  61. Tett P (1987) Plankton. In: Baker J, Wolff WJ (eds) Biological survey of estuaries and coasts. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  62. Tett P, Heaney SI, Droop MR (1985) The Redfield ratio and phytoplankton growth rate. J Mar Biol Assoc UK 65:487–504CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Tett P, Gowen R, Grantham B et al (1986) The phytoplankton ecology of the Firth of Clyde sea-lochs Striven and Fyne. Proc R Soc Edinb B 90:223–238Google Scholar
  64. Tett P, Hydes D, Sanders R (2003) Influence of nutrient biogeochemistry on the ecology of North-West European shelf seas. In: Schimmield G, Black K (eds) Biogeochemistry of marine systems. Academic Press Ltd, SheffieldCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Tett P, Gowen RJ, Mills DK et al (2007) Defining and detecting undesirable disturbance in the context of marine eutrophication. Mar Pollut Bull 55(1–6):282–297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Tett P, Carreira C, Mills DK et al (2008) Use of a Phytoplankton Community Index to assess the health of coastal waters. ICES J Mar Sci 65:1475–1482CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. UKTAG (2008) UK environmental standards and conditions; phase 2. Final Report 2008 UK Technical Advisory Group on the Water Framework Directive. http://www.wfduk.org/UK_Environmental_Standards/
  68. Wasmund N, Andrushaitis A, Łysiak-Pastuszak E et al (2001) Trophic status of the south-eastern Baltic Sea: a comparison of coastal and open areas. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 53:849–864CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Worrall F, Burt TP (2001) Inter-annual controls on nitrate export from an agricultural catchment—how much land-use change is safe? J Hydrol 243(3–4):228–241CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Zonneveld C (1998) A cell-based model for the chlorophyll a to carbon ratio in phytoplankton. Ecol Model 113(1–3):55–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jo Foden
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Michelle J. Devlin
    • 1
    • 3
  • David K. Mills
    • 1
  • Stephen J. Malcolm
    • 1
  1. 1.Environment and EcosystemsCentre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas)LowestoftUK
  2. 2.School of Environmental SciencesUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK
  3. 3.Catchment to Reef Research Group, ACTFRJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia

Personalised recommendations