This working group aims to develop and test new biodiversity indicators for benthos and fish, and link these components to change in plankton, seabirds, marine mammals and fishing pressure. The group aims to further our scientific knowledge of the food web processes that structure ecosystems and publish in scientific journals. This research is an integral part of ICES work and supports the developing area of ecosystem assessment: including those assessments made for Regional Sea Conventions, the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive, the Sustainable Development Goals for the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Intergovernmental science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.
The work in progress aims to:
(1) finalize a trait-based benthic response indicator to become an operational indicator with the capacity to support formal assessment and provide management advice;
(2) identify whether recovery of ecosystem components can lead to the depletion of prey groups and potential cascading effects on higher predators;
(3) provide further understanding of pressure-state relationships in indicator-based biodiversity and ecosystem status assessments;
(4) examine the efficacy of spatial management with reference to MPAs at the regional seas level and produce maps of biodiversity to inform on occurrence of diversity hotspots and provide advice for the spatial management for its conservation; and
(5) develop and contribute to ICES Integrated Ecosystem Assessments.
WGBIODIV's work can be linked to the work of other ecology expert groups including the Benthic Ecology Working Group (BEWG), the Working Group on Zooplankton Ecology (WGZE), the Joint OSPAR/HELCOM/ICES Working Group on Marine Birds (JWGBIRD), the Working Group on Marine Mammal Ecology (WGMME), survey groups, such as the Working Group on Beam Trawl Surveys (WGBEAM) and the International Bottom Trawl Survey Working Group (IBTSWG) and other working groups that are developing Integrated Ecosystem Assessments, including the Working Group on Ecosystem Effects of Fishing Activities (WGECO) and the Working Group on Multispecies Assessment Methods (WGSAM).
WGBIODIV annual meeting in Ifremer, France, 2023