Benthic systems are important ecosystem components, contributing to the overall functional role of the reworking of sediments, provision of nutrients and food to higher trophic groups, with habitat provision facilitated mainly by engineering species. Due to low mobility and sessile habits, benthic species are great indicators of change, helping to signal distinct disturbance effects. It is essential to document and understand how benthos research has contributed over the years to assessments of several pressures (e.g. climate change and direct human activities), in support of conservation activities (e.g. marine protected areas) and for legislative purposes (e.g. WFD, MSFD). There is still room to scope which processes and functions can be used to direct management and advice to advance the integration of benthic systems into wider ecosystem level assessments
The Benthos Ecology Working Group (BEWG) is one of the oldest ICES expert groups, celebrating its 36-year anniversary in 2017. This session is an opportunity to recap the existing knowledge gained and to discuss a new research agenda for benthic research. It will help to scope priorities, set direction within ICES to support integration of assessments and targeted advice for the study of marine benthic ecosystems.
This session aims to bring current ecological state of the art knowledge on benthic systems that have contributed to:
This session is expected to be well attended by ecologists, modellers, and conservation scientists working on this topic and providing the necessary science based advice to support management and conservation.