ICES Annual Science Conference 2018

Theme session F

Bottom-up approaches: the contribution of marine benthos to management, conservation and monitoring, taking stock and setting research direction

​​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:

  • The understanding of natural variability, climate and human pressures, and monitoring to support legislative drivers
  • Conservation initiatives with current tools and using large scale applications (e.g. habitat suitability and modelling approaches)
  • Lessons learned from long-term assessments in support of management and advice (e.g. marine protected areas and developing indicators)
  • Use of new tools for assessment and management (e.g. eDNA and potential new screening tools)
  • Bringing the socio-ecological dimension for the study of benthic systems (valuation of services, bio-economic tools)

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.

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Convener​s:
Silvana Birchenough (United Kingdom)
Ingrid Kröncke (Germany)
Steven Degraer (Belgium)
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Theme session F

International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) · Conseil International pour l'Exploration de la Mer (CIEM)
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