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Mar Pollut Bull. 2009;59(8-12):297-310. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2009.08.011. Epub 2009 Sep 1.

Monitoring strategies for re-establishment of ecological reference conditions: possibilities and limitations.

Author information

1
Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, Blindern, 0316 Oslo, Norway. ealve@geo.uio.no

Abstract

The ecological status of an environment should be evaluated by comparison with local "reference conditions", here defined as the pre-industrial ecological status of the 19th century. This pilot study illustrates how micropalaeontological monitoring, using benthic foraminifera (protists) and associated geochemical parameters preserved in inner Oslofjord (Norway) sediments, characterise local reference conditions. In order to optimise the usefulness of the ecological information held by foraminifera and enable characterisation of temporal changes in environmental quality beyond time intervals covered by biological time-series, the Norwegian governmental macrofauna-based classification system is applied on fossil benthic foraminiferal assemblages. Quantitative comparisons demonstrate deteriorating ecological status in response to increased anthropogenic forcing (eutrophication, micropollutants), including a 73% loss in number of foraminiferal species. Despite reduced pollution during the past decades and, at one site, capping of polluted sediments with clean clay, the reference conditions are far from re-established. Micropalaeontological monitoring requires net sediment accumulation basins and careful considerations of taphonomic processes.

PMID:
19726064
DOI:
10.1016/j.marpolbul.2009.08.011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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