Methodological elements for optimising the spatial monitoring design to support regional benthic ecosystem assessments

Gert Van Hoey*, Julia Wischnewski, Johan Craeymeersch, Jennifer Dannheim, Lisette Enserink, Laurent Guerin, Francisco Marco-Rius, Joey O’connor, Henning Reiss, Anne F. Sell, Marie Vanden Berghe, Michael L. Zettler, Steven Degraer, Silvana N.R. Birchenough

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Benthic habitat condition assessments are a requirement under various environmental directives. The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), for example, challenges member states in a European sea region to perform comparable assessments of good environmental status and improve coherence
of their monitoring programmes by 2020. Currently, North Sea countries operate independent monitoring programmes using nationally defined assessment
areas. Lack of an agreed OSPAR or EU scale monitoring method and programme has been identified as a priority science need. This paper proposes a method
for the development of a coherent and efficient spatial sampling design for benthic habitats on regional level and gives advice on optimal monitoring effort
to get more accurate assessments. We use ecologically relevant assessment areas (strata) across national borders and test spatial sample allocation methods.
Original languageEnglish
Article number423
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Monitoring and Assessment
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019


  • Benthos
  • Coordination
  • Monitoring
  • Sample allocation
  • Sampling design
  • Stratification


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