Stream 3: Ecosystem structures and functions

Analysing, assessing and judging integrated ecosystem food webs and other networks
  • V.N. de Jonge 1 , H. Asmus2
  • 1 Institute of Estuarine & Coastal Studies, The University of Hull, United Kingdom
  • 2 Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Wadden Sea Station Sylt, List, Germany
Orals and posters
Our ecosystems are continuously responding to continuously changing boundary conditions. These are represented by natural pressures such as temperature, nutrient supply and availability and light conditions and on top of it by pressures resulting from human activities (e.g. mining, extractions, channel maintenance, harbour development, fisheries, wind farms).

The management of our waters is budget and policies driven. As a result, attention has been focused on ‘indicators’ as a mean to judge the state and condition of ecosystems (i.e. the structure and function). These indicators are usually based on macrobenthos species, fishes and toxin producing algae. There is, however, doubt as to whether these indicators can be used as reliable proxies to assess the condition of an entire ecosystem (i.e. a waterbody, a sediment bed and in coastal zones or intertidal areas).

There is therefore a need to develop and propose indicators that a) cover entire ecosystems, b) can easily include invasive species, c) avoid complex pictures and patterns caused by large fluctuations in species number and abundance in coastal systems, d) avoid the use of complex ecosystem modelling based on meagre data sets, e) can link anthropogenic activities to ecosystem changes and f) can be easily communicated to decision-makers.

This session welcomes studies that address any aspect of the assessment of the structure and the functioning of ecological, social and economic systems as well as attempts to integrate these different aspects into one integral system.
Supporting Publications
Organised by
  • Elsevier
  • ECSA
  • ZMT
  • ECSA
  • Future Earth
  • DHI
  • TriOS
  • Unisense