Task 4.2

Task 4.1: JRAP#1 (pelagic biodiversity)- Biodiversity of plankton, harmful algal blooms and eutrophication 
Task 4.2: JRAP #2 (benthic biodiversity)- Monitoring changes in macrobenthic biodiversity. Assessing potential environmental controls and functional consequences
Task 4.3: JRAP #3 Occurrence of chemical contaminants in Northern coastal waters and biological responses
Task 4.4: JRAP #4 (hydrography): 4D characterization of trans-boundary hydrography and transport
Task 4.5: JRAP #5 Coastal carbon fluxes and biogeochemical cycling
Task 4.6: JRAP #6 Operational oceanography and coastal forecasting
Task 4.7: WP4 coordination and links with other WPs

JRAP #2 (benthic biodiversity)

Monitoring changes in macrobenthic biodiversity. Assessing potential environmental controls and functional consequences

Lead: CNRS (Antoine Grémare)

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The species composition of benthic macrofauna is classically used as an indicator of the ecological quality status of benthic habitats due to its response to a large variety of disturbances. The monitoring of this biological compartment has therefore been included in both the WFD and the MSFD. Such a monitoring at the scale of the whole EU cost by using classical approaches would however require a huge effort, which would by far exceed current capacities. There is therefore a strong need for identifying proxies of benthic macrofauna composition. This is the main question, which will be tackled in JRAP#2 through the coupling of the spatio-temporal monitoring of physico-chemical parameters and macrobenthos composition. In addition, we will also assess some of the functional consequences of changes in macrobenthic biodiversity in relation with technological developments achieved within JERICO (FP7) and JERICO-NEXT.

  • Involved JERICO Infrastructure (short names)

    Poseidon Heraklion coastal buoy, Poseidon Ferry Box, Sediment Profiler Hardware (SPI-H), Sediment Profiler-Software (SPI-S).

  • Work plan and specific links with other WPs showing JERICO added value:

    Comparable studies will be achieved at three contrasted sites submitted to different main potential disturbance sources: (1) the West Gironde mud patch, which is mostly affected by the inputs from the Gironde River; (2) the Bay of Brest, which is mostly affected by eutrophication, fishing activities and by the boom and bust dynamics of the invasive gastropod Crepidula fornicata, and (3) the Cretan Sea, which is deeply oligotrophic and where bentho-pelagic coupling is most important in controlling benthic macrofauna composition and dynamics.

    The sampling strategy will be first optimized through tight interactions with task 1.2 in WP1, followed by the JRAP#2.1 (M1-M6) stage, to prepare the JRAP#2 in field deployment according to this strategy. During the on-site implementation, JRAP#2.2 (M7-M30), the benthic macrofauna composition will then be assessed through classical taxonomic analysis, video-recording (link with task 3.6 in WP3) metabarcoding along appropriate spatial and temporal gradients. Changes in bioturbation and in benthic mineralization rates will be monitored with the same sampling strategy together with sets of physico-chemical parameters. The monitoring of main potential disturbances will be tackled in three different ways: (1) river inputs will be monitored through other existing observing networks (e.g., MAGEST network in the Gironde river, (2) the potential disturbance corresponding to fishing activities will be monitored through the assessment of AIS data (Bay of Brest), and (3) offshore processes and benthic-pelagic coupling will be investigated through high frequency abiotic and biotic in situ data from coastal and off shore fixed platforms and Ferry Box data (Cretan Sea). In the last step, JRAP#2.3, M30-M36, collected data will be analyzed by correlating: (1) disturbance intensities, (2) physico-chemical parameters, and (3) benthic macrofauna compositions.

  • Expected results (outcomes to other WPs)

    JRAP#2 will constitute a valorization of technological developments carried out within JERICO (FP7) and JERICO-NEXT projects. It will thus provide feedback to task 3.6 allowing for the optimization of technological innovation within JERICO-NEXT. JRA#2 will document on: (1) how the composition of benthic macrofauna is distributed in time and space, (2) the main environmental parameters and processes responsible for such changes, (3) the ability of alternative techniques and surrogates in describing changes in benthic macrofauna diversity, and (4) the effect of changes in benthic macrofauna diversity on the functioning of the sediment-water interface. JRAP#2 will contribute to establish the scientific strategy to monitor and study the benthic biodiversity at different scales (from local to European) in task 1.2, giving feedback on the cost-efficiency of the monitoring methods in task 1.5 (economic sustainability). Results will also contribute to task 1.6 (elaboration of an overall strategy for the future). JRAP#2 will apply data management procedures of WP5 (task 5.2, (integration of biological data) and its results will be made available through WP8.


Proposed deliverables are cross-cutting the 6 JRAPs, they intend to report the progress status and results during the whole duration of WP4.

D4.1 will report the topical scientific strategy of each JRAP, according to discussions and interaction with task 1.2 of WP1. (Month 9)

D4.2 will report progress following JRAP’s preparation (in lab and in field operations). It will also take care of gathering WP2 and WP3 outcomes dedicated to JRAPs (Month 12)

D4.3 will report progress following JRAP’s implementation. A specific attention will be paid to insure the data flows following the European channels according to standardization procedures set up in WP5.(Month 24).

D4.4 will report the first results of each JRAP, region per region. It will also show how results are delivered to WP8 and data to WP5. (Month 36).

D4.5 will report the final results, to valorise JERICO added value. It will also include a prospective chapter to propose monitoring and study strategies for future for each of the 6 topics. This will partly feed the task 1.6 (Month 43)