New Approaches to the Assessment of Marine Ecosystem Health

  • John S. Gray
Conference paper
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 28)


The most pressing environmental issues that the marine environment is faced with today are climate change, habitat destruction, chemical wastes, eutrophication and altered sediment transport. These stressors lead to altered fluxes of nutrients and energy, to loss of habitat diversity and genetic diversity, altered species distributions and abundances, and on an increasing scale to extinctions. Yet over the past decade there has been a fundamental change in perceptions of man’s effects on the environment. Whereas in the 1980’s it was believed that in the marine environment only local scale effects were found and that only the coastal margins were affected, we now know that regional scale effects already occur (e.g. eutrophication of the Baltic Sea) and there are indications that significant biological effects can be found in the open ocean. This latter finding is the result of application of new techniques, so-called biomarkers. Biomarkers range from genetic and biochemical techniques, through physiological approaches such as measurement of scope-for-growth in bivalves and fish to population and community indicators. Likewise, in the 1980’s it was believed that ecosystem models would give predictions of likely effects of pollutants, but this goal has not been achieved and in my opinion is probably not achievable.


Coral Reef Ecosystem Health Benthic Community Structure Elbe Estuary Continuous Plankton Record 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • John S. Gray
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biology Section of Marine Zoology and Marine ChemistryUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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