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NOAA Report on the Ocean and Great Lakes Economy of the United States

Citation Information: NOAA Coastal Services Center, Contract EA133C09CQ0033, Task T003; 4/6/2012

Author: Booz Allen Hamilton

Executive Summary: In the United States, many industries operate in coastal areas, but only a handful of industries depend on the water directly to support their economic activities. The Economics: National Ocean Watch (ENOW) data set highlights and quantifies these industries, allowing a better understanding of the ocean and Great Lakes economy in the U.S. The ENOW data set is produced by and available from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Coastal Services Center (CSC).

In 2009, the U.S. ocean and Great Lakes economy supported 2.6 million jobs and produced $223 billion in GDP. When compared to the total U.S. economy, it accounted for 2.0% of jobs and 1.6% of GDP. Like most other specific types of economic activity, the ocean and Great Lakes economy seems small when compared to the total U.S. economy. However, when compared to the total economy of other countries, it doesn’t seem so small. For example, in terms of GDP, the U.S. ocean and Great Lakes economy is larger than the total economy of Denmark, which produced $212 billion in GDP in 2009. But the size of the U.S. ocean and Great Lakes economy is only part of what makes it worth studying. The economic resilience it showed during the 2007 recession is noteworthy to say the least.

The U.S. ocean and Great Lakes economy weathered the storm of the 2007 recession better than most other parts of the U.S. economy. From 2005 to 2009, employment grew 1.4% in the ocean and Great Lakes economy while employment in the total U.S. economy fell 2.3%. GDP in the ocean and Great Lakes economy grew an impressive 64.9% from 2005 to 2009, while GDP only grew 1.7% in the total U.S. economy during the same time period. The economic resilience shown by the U.S. ocean and Great Lakes economy during the most severe economic downturn in recent history make it an area of key importance for policymakers, economic development organizations, coastal resource managers, and anyone involved in economic growth in coastal areas. Part of NOAA’s vision of the future is “resilient ecosystems, communities, and economies.” The ENOW data set reveals just how resilient the ocean and Great Lakes economy is.

Louisiana’s Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast

Citation Information: Coastal Protection & Restoration Authority of Louisiana, 2012

Description: On March 21, 2012 the CPRA unanimously approved the 2012 Coastal Master Plan for submission to the Louisiana Legislature and on May 22, 2012 the Louisiana Legislature unanimously approved the master plan.

The 2012 Coastal Master Plan provides the information Louisiana’s coastal citizens need as they seek to take care of their families, manage businesses, and plan for the future. The projects in the plan strike a balance between providing immediate relief to hard hit areas and laying groundwork for the large scale efforts that are essential if we are to protect communities and sustain our landscape. Building on this path forward is our commitment to the coast.

We developed the plan by building world class science and engineering expertise into our decisions, so we could focus our resources wisely. By determining how to use our limited dollars, river water, and sediment to gain the most value, we have identified investments that will pay off, not just for us, but for our children and grandchildren.

The Master Plan will guide the state’s coastal investments for the next 50 years. Some projects in the plan will be ready for design and construction. If so, the state will begin those processes as quickly as possible. Other projects may need further development. In those cases, the processes will be fast-tracked. In all cases, our aim is to drive effective and targeted action to save our coast.

The Oceans Compact: Healthy Oceans for Prosperity

Citation Information: United Nations, 2012

Description: On 12 August 2012, at the Yeosu (Republic of Korea) International Conference to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the opening for signature of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, launched the Oceans Compact - an initiative to strengthen United Nations system-wide coherence to deliver on its oceans-related mandates

"The world's oceans are key to sustaining life on the planet. The ocean constitutes a conduit for ninety per cent of the world trade, and for connecting people, markets and livelihoods. In light of the ocean's interconnectedness, all nations of the world should strive to make the oceans places of safety and sustainability of maritime activities for all humankind.

Humans, however, have put the oceans under risk of irreversible damage by over-fishing, climate change and ocean acidification (from absorbed carbon emissions), increasing pollution, unsustainable coastal area development, and unwanted impacts from resource extraction, resulting in loss of biodiversity, decreased abundance of species, damage to habitats and loss of ecological functions.

The Oceans Compact is an initiative to set out a strategic vision for the UN system to deliver on its ocean-related mandates, consistent with the Rio+20 outcome document "The Future We Want", in a more coherent and effective manner. It aims to provide a platform for all stakeholders to collaborate and accelerate progress in the achievement of the common goal of "Healthy Oceans for Prosperity." - BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General of the United Nations

The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2012

Citation Information: FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; Rome, 2012

ISBN: 978-92-5-107225-7

Description: Capture fisheries and aquaculture supplied the world with about 148 million tonnes of fish in 2010 (with a total value of US$217.5 billion), of which about 128 million tonnes was utilized as food for people, and preliminary data for 2011 indicate increased production of 154 million tonnes, of which 131 million tonnes was destined as food (Table 1 and Figure 1, all data presented are subject to rounding). With sustained growth in fish production and improved distribution channels, world fish food supply has grown dramatically in the last five decades, with an average growth rate of 3.2 percent per year in the period 1961–2009, outpacing the increase of 1.7 percent per year in the world’s population. World per capita food fish supply increased from an average of 9.9 kg (live weight equivalent) in the 1960s to 18.4 kg in 2009, and preliminary estimates for 2010 point to a further increase in fish consumption to 18.6 kg1 (Table 1 and Figure 2). Of the 126 million tonnes available for human consumption in 2009, fish consumption was lowest in Africa (9.1 million tonnes, with 9.1 kg per capita), while Asia accounted for two-thirds of total consumption, with 85.4 million tonnes (20.7 kg per capita), of which 42.8 million tonnes was consumed outside China (15.4 kg per capita). The corresponding per capita fish consumption figures for Oceania, North America, Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean were 24.6 kg, 24.1 kg, 22.0 kg and 9.9 kg, respectively. Although annual per capita consumption of fishery products has grown steadily in developing regions (from 5.2 kg in 1961 to 17.0 kg in 2009) and in low-income food-deficit countries (LIFDCs, from 4.9 kg in 1961 to 10.1 kg in 2009), it is still considerably lower than in more developed regions, although the gap is narrowing. A sizeable share of fish consumed in developed countries consists of imports, and, owing to steady demand and declining domestic fishery production (down 10 percent in the period 2000–2010), their dependence on imports, in particular from developing countries, is projected to grow in coming years.

40 Priority Research Questions for Ocean Science in Canada

Citation Information: CCA (Council of Canadian Academies). (2012). 40 Priority Research Questions for Ocean Science in Canada. Ottawa, ON: CCA, The Core Group on Ocean Science in Canada

Description: In March 2011 the Council was asked by the Canadian Consortium of Ocean Research Universities (CCORU) to undertake a two-part initiative on ocean science in Canada. The first phase was to identify priority research themes with the support of a Core Group of 22 ocean experts from Canada and abroad. This activity culminated in the development of the workshop report, 40 Priority Research Questions for Ocean Science in Canada (PDF). The report was publicly released on July 17th, 2012.

The world’s oceans are intrinsically important to Canada’s environment, culture, public health, economy and society. For a country as geographically large and diverse as Canada addressing the challenges of ocean science is complex and requires a high degree of coordination among scientific institutions and technology hubs. Therefore, a key challenge for Canada’s science community is determining strategic research priorities that will be of value to both those who conduct research and for those who use research.

The report, 40 Priority Research Questions for Ocean Science in Canada identifies 40 priority research questions that, if answered, would have the greatest impact on addressing future opportunities and challenges relating to ocean science in Canada. The 40 questions were developed in a collaborative, open and democratic process during a two-day workshop.

The 40 questions are grouped according to the following research themes:

  1. Improving fundamental scientific understanding
  2. Monitoring, data, and information management
  3. Understanding impacts of human activities
  4. Informing management and governance

The Council has now begun work on an in-depth, evidence-based assessment on ocean science. Information about this assessment can be found here.

Canada's State of the Oceans Report, 2012

Citation Information: Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Website title "Canada's State of the Oceans Report 2012"

Date: 13 August 2012

Description: The Centre of Expertise on State of the Oceans Reporting created this national report for the final stage of the Health of the Oceans Initiative (HOTO) under which it was first funded. It consists of highlights from the regional reports on Large Ocean Management Areas (LOMAs), created under the five-year (2007-2012) initiative. The initiative focused on: establishing new marine protected areas, enhancing our pollution prevention and response measures through improved surveillance, enforcement and containment, and collaboration with partners on matters in ocean and trans-boundary waters, including the Arctic and the Gulf of Maine.

Note: Attached PDF is a printout of the website report which was last changed on 13 August 2012. Please refer to the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website for any content revisions.

Global environmental predictors of benthic marine biogeographic structure

Citation Information: PNAS August 28, 2012 vol. 109 no. 35 14046-14051

Authors: Christina L. Belanger, David Jablonski, Kaustuv Roy, Sarah K. Berke, Andrew Z. Krug and James W. Valentine

Abstract: Analyses of how environmental factors influence the biogeographic structure of biotas are essential for understanding the processes underlying global diversity patterns and for predicting large-scale biotic responses to global change. Here we show that the large-scale geographic structure of shallow-marine benthic faunas, defined by existing biogeographic schemes, can be predicted with 89–100% accuracy by a few readily available oceanographic variables; temperature alone can predict 53–99% of the present-day structure along coastlines. The same set of variables is also strongly correlated with spatial changes in species compositions of bivalves, a major component of the benthic marine biota, at the 1° grid-cell resolution. These analyses demonstrate the central role of coastal oceanography in structuring benthic marine biogeography and suggest that a few environmental variables may be sufficient to model the response of marine biogeographic structure to past and future changes in climate.

Environmental Challenges for Maldives

Citation Information: South Asian Survey September 2010 vol. 17 no. 2 343-351

Authors: T.C. Karthikheyan

Abstract: This article looks into the environmental challenges that Maldives, an island country in the South Asian region, is facing. It studies all possible sources of environmental challenges with inherent vulnerabilities of the country in terms of its geographic and environmental conditions, and analyses important contributing factors such as global warming, sea level rise, tourism and environmental degradation and, more importantly, the 2004 tsunami. The article particularly examines the effects of global warming on Maldives on the basis of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) report on climate change. The impact of the tsunami and its repercussions on the Maldives’s ecological fragility are also discussed. Towards the conclusion, this article focuses on the need of the Maldivian government to formulate appropriate policies and also, at the same time, the difficulties in realising those policies.

Protected areas facilitate species’ range expansions

Citation Information: PNAS August 28, 2012 vol. 109 no. 35 14063-14068

Authors: Chris D. Thomas, Phillipa K. Gillingham, Richard B. Bradbury, David B. Roy, Barbara J. Anderson, John M. Baxter, Nigel A. D. Bourn, Humphrey Q. P. Crick, Richard A. Findon, Richard Fox, Jenny A. Hodgson, Alison R. Holt, Mike D. Morecroft, Nina J. O’Hanlon, Tom H. Oliver, James W. Pearce-Higgins, Deborah A. Procter, Jeremy A. Thomas, Kevin J. Walker, Clive A. Walmsley, Robert J. Wilson and Jane K. Hill

Abstract: The benefits of protected areas (PAs) for biodiversity have been questioned in the context of climate change because PAs are static, whereas the distributions of species are dynamic. Current PAs may, however, continue to be important if they provide suitable locations for species to colonize at their leading-edge range boundaries, thereby enabling spread into new regions. Here, we present an empirical assessment of the role of PAs as targets for colonization during recent range expansions. Records from intensive surveys revealed that seven bird and butterfly species have colonized PAs 4.2 (median) times more frequently than expected from the availability of PAs in the landscapes colonized. Records of an additional 256 invertebrate species with less-intensive surveys supported these findings and showed that 98% of species are disproportionately associated with PAs in newly colonized parts of their ranges. Although colonizing species favor PAs in general, species vary greatly in their reliance on PAs, reflecting differences in the dependence of individual species on particular habitats and other conditions that are available only in PAs. These findings highlight the importance of current PAs for facilitating range expansions and show that a small subset of the landscape receives a high proportion of colonizations by range-expanding species.

Rapid Policy Network Mapping: A New Method for Understanding Governance Structures for Implementation of Marine Environmental Policy

Citation Information: Bainbridge JM, Potts T, O'Higgins TG (2011) Rapid Policy Network Mapping: A New Method for Understanding Governance Structures for Implementation of Marine Environmental Policy. PLoS ONE 6(10): e26149. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026149

Abstract: Understanding the relationships and dependencies in the development and implementation of environmental policy is essential to the effective management of the marine environment. A new method of policy network analysis called ‘Rapid Policy Network Mapping’ was developed that delivers an insight for both technical and non-technical users into the lifecycle, relationships and dependencies of policy development. The method was applied to the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the Water Framework Directive in the UK. These case studies highlight the environmental policy challenges to protect the UK's marine coastal environment and they identify differences in the styles of policy implementation between the devolved authorities of the UK. Rapid Policy Network Mapping provides an opportunity to create a collaborative policy data environment with a relatively small investment. As a tool for civil society it should assist in their ability to understand and influence policy making and implementation.

Special thanks to an anonymous OpenChannels user for submitting this content!

Reef Reminiscences: Ratcheting back the shifted baselines concerning what reefs used to be

Citation Information: Sale, Peter F. and Szmant, Alina M., (eds). 2012. Reef Reminiscences: Ratcheting back the shifted baselines concerning what reefs used to be. United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health, Hamilton, ON, Canada, 35 pp.

Description: On the occasion of the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium, held from 9 to 13 July 2012, in Cairns Australia, the UN University Institute for Water, Environment & Health (UNU-INWEH) is releasing a colourful 35 page brochure containing a series of reminiscences by the older generation of coral reef scientists, about particular times and places. 

Integrating environmental gap analysis with spatial conservation prioritization: A case study from Victoria, Australia

Citation Information: Journal of Environmental Management; Volume 112, 15 December 2012, Pages 240–251

Authors: Seyedeh Mahdieh Sharafi, Atte Moilanen, Matt White, Mark Burgman

Abstract: Gap analysis is used to analyse reserve networks and their coverage of biodiversity, thus identifying gaps in biodiversity representation that may be filled by additional conservation measures. Gap analysis has been used to identify priorities for species and habitat types. When it is applied to identify gaps in the coverage of environmental variables, it embodies the assumption that combinations of environmental variables are effective surrogates for biodiversity attributes. The question remains of how to fill gaps in conservation systems efficiently. Conservation prioritization software can identify those areas outside existing conservation areas that contribute to the efficient covering of gaps in biodiversity features. We show how environmental gap analysis can be implemented using high-resolution information about environmental variables and ecosystem condition with the publicly available conservation prioritization software, Zonation. Our method is based on the conversion of combinations of environmental variables into biodiversity features. We also replicated the analysis by using Species Distribution Models (SDMs) as biodiversity features to evaluate the robustness and utility of our environment-based analysis. We apply the technique to a planning case study of the state of Victoria, Australia.

Delivering offshore electricity to the EU: Spatial planning of offshore renewable energies and electricity grid infrastructures in an integrated EU maritime policy

Citation Information: Seanergy 2020, Final project report, May 2012

Authors: EWEA (coordinator), ECN, 3E, CORPI, CRES, LNEG, SOW, UOB

Description: Facilitating offshore renewables – wind, wave and tidal – through marine spatial planning (MSP) is the core objective of the Intelligent Energy Europe funded project Seanergy 2020. Seanergy 2020 does this by formulating and promoting policy recommendations on how to best address and remove MSP obstacles to offshore renewable energy generation, in order to implement the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC). In doing so, it seeks to promote a more integrated and coordinated approach to MSP: that is, an approach that extends beyond national borders. This is particularly important since many human activities as well as ecological concerns at sea have a cross-border dimension. The geographical scope of the Seanergy 2020 project includes the Atlantic Coast and Irish Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, and the North Sea.

The Seanergy 2020 project has centred its work on three main work packages or phases: firstly, analysis of existing national MSP practices and their impact on offshore renewable deployment, and identification of best practices (work package 2); secondly, analysis of different international MSP instruments and their compatibility with offshore renewable deployment (work package 3); and thirdly, analysis of the challenges and opportunities of moving from a national to a transnational MSP approach (work package 4). This third phase compiles findings and recommendations and draws up the overall project recommendations.

This report represents the final publication of the Seanergy 2020 project and presents findings from each of these three sections or phases of the project as well as overall project recommendations.

Linking temperate demersal fish species to habitat: scales, patterns and future directions

Citation Information: Fish and Fisheries; 7 APR 2012

DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-2979.2012.00466.x

Authors: Andrew F Johnson, Stuart R Jenkins, Jan G Hiddink, Hilmar Hinz

Abstract: Adoption of the ecosystem approach to fisheries management relies on recognition of the link between fish and other components of the ecosystem, namely their physical and biological habitat. However, identifying the habitat requirements of marine fishes and hence determining their distribution in space and time is scientifically complex. We analysed the methodologies and findings of research on temperate, demersal fish habitat requirements to highlight the main developments in this field and to identify potential shortfalls. Many studies were undertaken over large spatial scales (≥100s km2) and these generally correlated abundances of fish to abiotic variables. Biological variables were accounted for less often. Small spatial scale (≤m2), experimental studies were comparatively sparse and commonly focused on biotic variables. Whilst the number of studies focusing on abiotic variables increased with increasing spatial scale, the proportion of studies finding significant relationships between habitat and fish distribution remained constant. This mismatch indicates there is no justification for the tendency to analyse abiotic habitat variables at large spatial scales. Innovative modelling techniques and habitat mapping technologies are developing rapidly, providing new insights at the larger spatial scales. However, there is a clear need for a reduction in study scale, or increase in resolution additional to the integration of biotic variables. We argue that development of sound predictive science in the field of demersal fish habitat determination is reliant on a change in focus along these lines. This is especially important if spatial management strategies, such as Marine Protected Areas (MPA) or No Take Zones (NTZ), are to be used in future ecosystem-based approaches to fisheries management.

Evaluation through column leaching tests of metal release from contaminated estuarine sediment subject to CO2 leakages from Carbon Capture and Storage sites

Citation Information: Environmental Pollution; Volume 171, December 2012, Pages 174–184

Authors: M. Cruz Payán, Berta Galan, Alberto Coz, Carlo Vandecasteele, Javier R. Viguri

Abstract: The pH change and the release of organic matter and metals from sediment, due to the potential CO2 acidified seawater leakages from a CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) site are presented. Column leaching test is used to simulate a scenario where a flow of acidified seawater is in contact with recent contaminated sediment. The behavior of pH, dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and metals As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, Zn, with liquid to solid (L/S) ratio and pH is analyzed. A stepwise strategy using empirical expressions and a geochemical model was conducted to fit experimental release concentrations. Despite the neutralization capacity of the seawater-carbonate rich sediment system, important acidification and releases are expected at local scale at lower pH. The obtained results would be relevant as a line of evidence input of CCS risk assessment, in an International context where strategies to mitigate the climate change would be applied.

Methodologies for measuring and modelling change in coastal saline lagoons under historic and accelerated sea-level rise, Suffolk coast, eastern England

Citation Information: Hydrobiologia; Volume 693, Number 1 (2012), 99-115

DOI: 10.1007/s10750-012-1089-x

Authors: Thomas Spencer and Susan M. Brooks

Abstract: Thorough assessment of vulnerable coastal habitats, impacted by sea-level rise and anthropogenic pressures, requires both the accurate establishment of the evidence base for current status and scientifically-informed forward planning of expected future status. Coastal saline lagoons are transitional, ephemeral habitats of considerable conservation interest; under European legislation their status requires on-going maintenance of ‘favourable status’. Over decadal timescales, the seaward barriers that enclose saline lagoons migrate progressively landwards. Geo-referenced and digitised historic maps and aerial photographs are used to create a detailed trajectory of barrier migration and loss of lagoon area for three saline ‘broads’ on the rapidly retreating coastline of Suffolk, eastern England. The SCAPE shoreline response model is then employed to extend this trajectory, under a range of sea-level rise scenarios, to 2050 and 2095 and to predict saline lagoon ‘time to extinction’. Loss rates are likely to accelerate considerably after 2015 and a fundamental revision of UK saline lagoon creation targets is urgently required. The approach is generic and could be used to assess the evolutionary trajectories for other vulnerable coastal habitats, under a range of near-future environmental change scenarios. 

Estimating confidence of European WFD ecological status class and WISER Bioassessment Uncertainty Guidance Software (WISERBUGS)

Citation Information: Hydrobiologia, 2012

DOI: 10.1007/s10750-012-1245-3

Author: Ralph T. Clarke

Abstract: The Water Framework Directive (WFD) requires estimates of the confidence and precision associated with any scheme for assessing and monitoring the ecological status class of any European rivers, lakes, transitional or coastal waters. This is a complex important issue, especially for waterbody assessments based on multiple metrics and/or two or more taxonomic groups. This paper aims to contribute towards improving understanding and providing practical approaches to assessing confidence of class by (i) discussing the various sources and causes of uncertainty, (ii) using UK rivers macroinvertebrate datasets to illustrate the estimation of replicate, temporal and spatial variance components and the implications for water body metric precision, confidence of class and optimal sampling design, (iii) introducing new freely available general software WISER Bioassessment Uncertainty Guidance Software (WISERBUGS) which uses prior sampling uncertainty estimates with user-specified metrics, class limits and metric combination rules to simulate the joint sampling uncertainty in metric EQR values and provide estimates of confidence of class based on individual metrics, (optionally weighted) multi-metric indices and/or multi-metric classification rules (worst case, mean or median class) based on one or more WFD biological quality elements. 

Natural variability and reference conditions: setting type-specific classification boundaries for lagoon macroinvertebrates in the Mediterranean and Black Seas

Citation Information: Hydrobiologia, 2012

DOI: 10.1007/s10750-012-1273-z

Authors: Alberto Basset, Enrico Barbone, Angel Borja, Michael Elliott, Giovanna Jona-Lasinio, João Carlos Marques, Krysia Mazik, Iñigo Muxika, João Magalhães Neto and Sofia Reizopoulou, et al.

Abstract: The ecological status classification of aquatic ecosystems using biological indices requires a number of steps, including the description and standardisation of the indices’ natural variability. Here, we address this point with reference to selected Mediterranean and Black Sea lagoons, using benthic macroinvertebrates in order to: (i) explore the drivers and extent of the indices’ natural variability; (ii) evaluate lagoon type-specific reference conditions and related classification boundaries; (iii) test the classification strength of the derived boundaries; and, (iv) propose recommendations for optimising ecological status classification. The considered indices showed large variation between and within the reference lagoons on both spatial and temporal scales. Among the tested descriptors of the proposed lagoon typologies, surface area, confinement and water salinity were found to be significant sources of index variability. Type-specific reference conditions and classification boundaries were then defined, improving the accuracy of ecological status assessment. At the lagoon level, classification strength increased up to 100 % in reference (least disturbed) lagoons and up to 83 % in an independent validation set of highly disturbed sites. Nevertheless, a certain degree of uncertainty was still found to affect classification at the study site level. Recommendations concerning the application of the various approaches to type-specific reference conditions and classification boundaries are given. 

Combination of multiple biological quality elements into waterbody assessment of surface waters

Citation Information: Hydrobiologia, 2012

DOI: 10.1007/s10750-012-1274-y

Authors: R. Caroni, W. van de Bund, R. T. Clarke and R. K. Johnson

Abstract: The Water Framework Directive (WFD) requires EU Member States to classify the ecological status of surface waters by using multiple biological quality elements (BQEs). According to the WFD Classification Guidance, a ‘one-out-all-out’ (OOAO) rule should be applied when integrating multiple BQEs into an overall biological status of a waterbody, i.e. classification is determined by the lowest status BQE. Using both simulated and monitoring datasets, we analyzed the effects of different combination rules in classification outcome and classification reliability. The OOAO represented the strictest combination rule in terms of increased probabilities of waterbodies being in moderate or worse status in comparison to other rules. The OOAO approach gave acceptable results when different BQEs were complementary, showing the effects of different pressures, and when level of uncertainty in the metrics used in the assessment was not high. Increasing the number of BQEs used in the assessment affected the classification outcome when using the OOAO approach; this was especially problematic if all BQEs address the same pressure. Our study showed that grouping of metrics and metrics uncertainty has a large influence on classification outcomes and that this should be carefully considered to ensure that final classification adequately reflects ecological status. 

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