WGMP-SPI

WGMP-SPI: Assessment of the ECOcological Quality status of the West Gironde Mud Patch, taken as an example of offshore marine system, using Sediment Profile Imagery

User group PI: Adriana Galindo Dalto, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Hosting infrastructure: Sediment Profile Imager, France

Main Objectives

The aim of the WGMP-SPI project is to assess the potential of sediment profile imaging for characterizing the ecological quality status (ECOQ) of marine offshore systems, which is required by the EU Marine Strategy framework Directive.

WGMP-SPI is using the West Gironde Mud Patch (WGMP) to tackle this question because of some of its characteristics including its size, accessibility and potential sensitivity to natural and anthropogenic disturbances. The WGMP is potentially submitted to both natural (e.g. sediment resuspension due to the strong hydrodynamism of the Atlantic Ocean) and anthropogenic (e.g. contaminant inputs from the Gironde fluvio-estuarine system and fishing). The intensity of these two sources is likely to vary both spatially and temporally.

Based on a sampling plan encompassing these two dimensions, WGMP-SPI will tackle the following questions:

  • What are the spatial and temporal patterns of changes in sediment profile images?
  • Can these patterns be put in relation with environmental factors including hydrodynamics and sediment main  characteristics?
  • Do spatial and temporal changes in the characteristics of sediment profile image characteristics translate in changes in ECOQ?
  • Are there differences between the ECOQ derived from Sediment Profile Imaging and the analysis of benthic macrofauna?
  • Does the relationship between these two ECOQ assessments vary spatially and temporally?
  • Based on the answers to the preceding questions, is it possible to establish a map of the ECOQ of benthic habitats in the WGMP?
  • If yes, what is the duration of validity of such a map?