Food web assessments in the Baltic Sea: Models bridging the gap between indicators and policy needs.

Korpinen, Samuli, Uusitalo, Laura, Nordström, Marie C., Dierking, Jan , Tomczak, Maciej T., Haldin, Jannica, Opitz, Silvia, Bonsdorff, Erik and Neuenfeldt, Stefan (2022) Food web assessments in the Baltic Sea: Models bridging the gap between indicators and policy needs. Open Access Ambio, 51 . pp. 1687-1697. DOI 10.1007/s13280-021-01692-x.

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Ecosystem-based management requires understanding of food webs. Consequently, assessment of food web status is mandatory according to the European Union’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) for EU Member States. However, how to best monitor and assess food webs in practise has proven a challenging question. Here, we review and assess the current status of food web indicators and food web models, and discuss whether the models can help addressing current shortcomings of indicator-based food web assessments, using the Baltic Sea as an example region. We show that although the MSFD food web assessment was designed to use food web indicators alone, they are currently poorly fit for the purpose, because they lack interconnectivity of trophic guilds. We then argue that the multiple food web models published for this region have a high potential to provide additional coherence to the definition of good environmental status, the evaluation of uncertainties, and estimates for unsampled indicator values, but we also identify current limitations that stand in the way of more formal implementation of this approach. We close with a discussion of which current models have the best capacity for this purpose in the Baltic Sea, and of the way forward towards the combination of measurable indicators and modelling approaches in food web assessments.

Document Type: Article
Funder compliance: BMBF: 03F0816A
Keywords: Baltic Sea; Ecosystem-based management; Food web assessment; Food web indicators; Food web models; Marine Strategy Framework Directive
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EV Marine Evolutionary Ecology
Main POF Topic: PT6: Marine Life
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
Publisher: Springer
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2022 09:21
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2023 09:44

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