Biotic indices are major tools recommended by the European Directives for assessing the ecological status of marine coastal ecosystems such as Posidonia oceanica meadows. Nevertheless, the multitude of available metrics commonly adopted in the P. oceanica monitoring often provide diverging responses about the health status of the habitat. In this study, we investigated the effectiveness and consistency of a set of 11 indices and descriptors working at different level of ecological complexity of P. oceanica ecosystem (individual, population, community, and seascape), applying them on 13 seagrass meadows of the Ligurian Sea (NW Mediterranean). A new approach, named RESQUE (RESilience and QUality of seagrass Ecosystem), is here proposed and aims to provide a single and comprehensive measure of the ecological status of seagrass meadows. RESQUE is a graphical approach that involves the calculation of both the Relative Area Index (RAI) and the Relative Circularity Index (RCI) starting from a radar chart where all the different values of indices and descriptors are reported after being normalized. The RAI represents a measure of the overall environmental quality, while the RCI constitutes a measure of the consistency among indices and it is assumed as a good proxy of meadow resilience. RESQUE turned out to be an effective method to incorporate all the different indices responses, and allowed integration of relevant information into an overall expression of meadow health. Beyond the ability of merely defining the quality of the Ligurian P. oceanica meadows, this approach displayed a great potential being possibly applicable to other habitats and with ideally infinite combinations of metrics.

RESQUE: A novel comprehensive approach to compare the performance of different indices in evaluating seagrass health

Oprandi A.;Bianchi C. N.;Morri C.;Rigo I.;Montefalcone M.
2021

Abstract

Biotic indices are major tools recommended by the European Directives for assessing the ecological status of marine coastal ecosystems such as Posidonia oceanica meadows. Nevertheless, the multitude of available metrics commonly adopted in the P. oceanica monitoring often provide diverging responses about the health status of the habitat. In this study, we investigated the effectiveness and consistency of a set of 11 indices and descriptors working at different level of ecological complexity of P. oceanica ecosystem (individual, population, community, and seascape), applying them on 13 seagrass meadows of the Ligurian Sea (NW Mediterranean). A new approach, named RESQUE (RESilience and QUality of seagrass Ecosystem), is here proposed and aims to provide a single and comprehensive measure of the ecological status of seagrass meadows. RESQUE is a graphical approach that involves the calculation of both the Relative Area Index (RAI) and the Relative Circularity Index (RCI) starting from a radar chart where all the different values of indices and descriptors are reported after being normalized. The RAI represents a measure of the overall environmental quality, while the RCI constitutes a measure of the consistency among indices and it is assumed as a good proxy of meadow resilience. RESQUE turned out to be an effective method to incorporate all the different indices responses, and allowed integration of relevant information into an overall expression of meadow health. Beyond the ability of merely defining the quality of the Ligurian P. oceanica meadows, this approach displayed a great potential being possibly applicable to other habitats and with ideally infinite combinations of metrics.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/1066808
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