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Ocean Science An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 11 Jul 2019

Submitted as: research article | 11 Jul 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Ocean Science (OS).

Marine monitoring in Europe: is it adequate to address environmental threats and pressures?

Suzanne J. Painting1, Kate A. Collingridge1, Dominique Durand4, Antoine Grémare2, Veronique Créach1, Christos Arvanitidis3, and Guillaume Bernard5 Suzanne J. Painting et al.
  • 1Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), Lowestoft, NR33 0HT, UK
  • 2Université de Bordeaux, EPOC, UMR 5805, F-33615 Pessac, France
  • 3Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Heraklion, 71500, Greece
  • 4COVARTEC, Bergen, 5141, Norway
  • 5CNRS, EPOC, UMR 5805, F-33615 Pessac, France

Abstract. We provide a review of the environmental threats and gaps in monitoring programmes in European coastal waters based on previous studies, an online questionnaire, and an in-depth assessment of observation scales. Our findings underpin the JERICO-NEXT1 monitoring strategy for the development and integration of coastal observatories in Europe, and support JERICO-RI2 in providing high-value physical, chemical and biological datasets for addressing key challenges at a European level. This study highlights the need for improved monitoring of environmental threats in European coastal environments.

Participants in the online questionnaire provided new insights into gaps between environmental threats and monitoring of impacts. In total, 36 national representatives, scientists and monitoring authorities from 12 European countries (Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom) completed the questionnaire, and 38 monitoring programmes were reported. The main policy drivers of monitoring were identified as the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD), Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), Regional Seas conventions (e.g. OSPAR) and local drivers. Although policy drivers change over time, their overall purposes remain similar. The most commonly identified threats to the marine environment were: marine litter, shipping, contaminants, organic enrichment, and fishing. Regime shift was identified as a pressure by 67 % of respondents. The main impacts of these pressures or threats were identified by the majority of respondents (> 70 %) to be habitat loss or destruction, underwater noise, and contamination, with 60 % identifying undesirable disturbance (e.g. oxygen depletion), changes in sediment/substrate composition, changes in community composition, harmful micro-organisms and invasive species as key impacts.

Most respondents considered current monitoring of threats to be partially adequate or not adequate. The majority of responses were related to spatial and/or temporal scales at which monitoring takes place, and inadequate monitoring of particular parameters. Suggestions for improved monitoring programmes included improved design, increased monitoring effort and better linkages with research and new technologies. Improved monitoring programmes should be fit-for-purpose, underpin longer-term scientific objectives which cut across policy and other drivers, and consider cumulative effects of multiple pressures.

The JERICO-RI aims to fill some of the observation gaps in monitoring programmes through development of new technologies. The science strategy for JERICO-RI will pave the way to a better integration of physical, chemical and biological observations into an ecological process perspective.

1 JERICO-NEXT is the European H2020 project under grant agreement No. 654410.

2 JERICO-RI is the European coastal research infrastructure (RI) community built by and through JERICO-NEXT and its predecessor JERICO (Framework 7 Grant Agreement 49 no 262584).

Suzanne J. Painting et al.
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Status: open (until 18 Oct 2019)
Status: open (until 18 Oct 2019)
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Suzanne J. Painting et al.
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Short summary
We carried out a literature review and an opinion poll of the JERICO-NEXT community to identify the main environmental threats in European coastal areas, and gaps in monitoring. The need for improved monitoring was highlighted, e.g. through improved design and monitoring effort and better links with new technologies. The findings underpin the JERICO-NEXT science strategy to integrate linkages between physical, chemical and biological parameters to address scientific and policy needs.
We carried out a literature review and an opinion poll of the JERICO-NEXT community to identify...