Work package 2: Development of early warning indicators of environmental quality changes
Objectives of this work package were:
1. Identification of descriptors of coastal ecosystems degradation/health and selection of indicators at different spatial scales and biological levels;
2. Development of early warning indicators of coastal biotopes’ health/degradation levels;
3. Development of monitoring programmes to be proposed for use in the Mediterranean region.
General strategy. Some of the aspects studied in work package were addressed for their value as early warning indicators of coastal environment changes and for their use in monitoring land and water management. Observations were made at different levels of integration: landscape, communities (some features), populations (structure and dynamics), individuals (physiology, behaviour) and molecules (biochemistry, genetics). Descriptors were chosen critically for their applicability in the Mediterranean context and their value as indicators of impacts was tested at the MEDCORE study sites. The spatial dimension included across site comparison when applicable, and exploited data bases also from other national and international projects. The comparison of time series permitted to monitor changes at different time scales (years, decades and historical) and in some cases predict trends.