Biodiversity Monitoring & Assessment
To achieve the OSPAR vision for a healthy and biodiverse sea, we need to know how our seas function and whether the actions that the OSPAR Contracting Parties agree to take are having the intended effect. This means we need to be able to assess change over time. The focus for the Biodiversity Committee is to identify certain features of the ecosystem that we can measure that will give us this information. There are lots of these indicators in existence. The big challenge is how to ensure that the indicators are applicable at a regional scale and are responsive to changes in pressures. The intersessional correspondence group on coordinated biodiversity assessment and monitoring (ICG-COBAM) has been developing an initial suite of 15 common biodiversity indicators that can be used across at least one of OSPAR’s Regions. These are indicators that look at the changes in populations of marine mammals, seabirds, fish, they look at changes in the phyto and zoo plankton communities, benthic habitats and food webs. The first assessment of these indicators will be delivered in 2017 as part of the Intermediate Assessment, and a contribution towards delivery of the MSFD. This is a relatively young area of work, and as products become available they will be uploaded here.
The EcApRHA project (Applying an Ecosystem Approach to (sub) Regional Habitat Assessment) co-financed by the EU DG Environment was a 15-month (December 2015 – February 2017) project, which focused on addressing gaps in the development of biodiversity (pelagic, benthic and food webs) indicators for the OSPAR Regions. In particular, the project aimed to overcome challenges in the development of indicators relating to the MSFD (Marine Strategy Framework Directive 56/2008/EU), such as Descriptor D1 (Biodiversity), D4 (Food webs) and D6 (Seafloor integrity).
All project deliverables and further information can be found here https://www.ospar.org/work-areas/bdc/ecaprha