Methods of eutrophication assessment in the context of the water framework directive: Examples from the Eastern Mediterranean coastal areas
A set of methodological tools were tested in order to assess the eutrophication quality of selected coastal areas in Eastern Mediterranean Sea, Greece, in the context of the Water Framework Directive under various anthropogenic pressures. Three, five-step tools, namely, TRIX, chlorophyll-a (chl-a) biomass classification scheme, and eutrophication index (E.I.) were applied in oligotrophic waters for (a) the whole water column and (b) the euphotic zone. The relationship among the eutrophication assessment indices and the ecological quality status (EcoQ) assessment indices for benthic macroinvertebrates (BENTIX index) and macroalgae (ecological evaluation index-EEIc) was also explored. Agricultural ac- tivities and mariculture are the pressures mostly related to the eutrophication assessment of the selected Greek coastal water bodies. Chl-a proved to be the criterion with the best overall correlation with the EcoQ indices, while TRIX with the lowest. Moreover, among the eutrophication indices, E.I. showed better overall agreement with BENTIX showing that probably it reflects the indirect relation of macro- invertebrates with water eutrophication in a better way. Among the eutrophication indices used, TRIX rather overestimated the eutrophication status of the selected coastal areas. The first stage of eu- trophication was reflected more efficiently using E.I. than TRIX, but E.I. seems to be a rather sensitive index. A future modification of the high to good boundary of E.I. may be needed in order to demonstrate the high status of the relatively undisturbed Greek coastal sites.
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