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Cephalopod indicators for the MSFD - ME5311

The project will evaluate the scope and availability of existing cephalopod data, as well as contributing new data from archive samples, for the North Sea, English Channel and Celtic Sea, to evaluate whether cephalopod species might be suitable as an indicator for the MSFD in UK waters. The project will also assess whether existing data collection and methodologies are sufficient in scope and consistency to provide a scientifically robust indicator. The project will make recommendations of which of the proposed indicators best meet the criteria for good indicators, and make an assessment of the feasibility and likely costs of monitoring.
To develop and evaluate a cephalopod indicator to contribute to the assessment of Good Environmental Status in UK waters for descriptors 1 (biological diversity), 3 (population of commercial fish/shell fish) and 4 (elements of marine food webs) of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). This project will:

- Assemble and evaluate literature and data sources for cephalopod species occurring in UK waters, to inform the selection of species and area to be covered by further analysis;
- Review knowledge on current/potential threats to cephalopod populations in UK and adjacent regional waters
- Where feasible: develop standardized abundance indices based on survey and/or fishery data (including variability and environmental sensitivity of parameters); identify trends in abundance, distribution, demographic and ecological parameters; identify preferred habitats; identify baselines and quantify natural variability around baseline levels; make a preliminary selection of possible indicators of species or community status;
- Support the development of demographic indicators for squid by obtaining new age data from stored samples, permitting derivation of age-size relationships, analysis of variability in size-at-age and, hence, evaluation of the utility of size-based indicators;
- Develop appropriate candidate quantitative or qualitative indicators for cephalopod distribution range, abundance, demography, contaminant levels, and ecological / community indicators. This will take into account uncertainty about baselines, and potential difficulties in separating environmentally-driven variation from that due to anthropogenic impacts and considering the additional constraint that while relevant data exist in project databases they are not necessarily currently routinely collected;
- Synthesise results to provide an evaluation of all candidate indicators, including full documentation and, where currently monitoring is inadequate, propose fit-for-purpose monitoring programmes.

Project Documents
• EVID4 - Final project report : ME5311 Cephalopods Evid4   (1169k)
• FRP - Final Report : ME5311 Cephalopods Final Report   (2689k)
• TPS - Two Page Summary : ME5311 Two page summary   (253k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2013

To: 2014

Cost: £60,151
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University of Aberdeen