Assessing environmental quality status by integrating chemical and biological effect data: The Cartagena coastal zone as a case

Concepción Martínez-Gómez*, Beatriz Fernández, Craig D. Robinson, J. Antonio Campillo, Víctor M. León, José Benedicto, Ketil Hylland, A. Dick Vethaak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Cartagena coastal zone (W Mediterranean) was chosen for a practical case study to investigate the suitability of an integrated indicator framework for marine monitoring and assessment of chemicals and their effects, which was developed by ICES and OSPAR. Red mullet (Mullus barbatus) and the Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis) were selected as target species. Concentrations of contaminants in sediment and biota, and contaminant-related biomarkers were analysed. To assess environmental quality in the Cartagena coastal zone with respect to chemical pollution, data were assessed using available assessment criteria, and then integrated for different environmental matrices. A qualitative scoring method was used to rank the overall assessments into selected categories and to evaluate the confidence level of the final integrated assessment. The ICES/OSPAR integrated assessment framework, originally designed for the North Atlantic, was found to be applicable for Mediterranean species and environmental matrices. Further development of assessment criteria of chemical and biological parameters in sediments and target species from the Mediterranean will, however, be required before this framework can be fully applied for determining Good Environmental Status (GES) of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive in these regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-117
Number of pages12
JournalMarine Environmental Research
Volume124
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017

Keywords

  • Biomonitoring
  • Chemical pollution
  • Good Environmental Status
  • Integrated assessment
  • MSFD
  • Mullus barbatus
  • Mytilus galloprovincialis
  • Sublethal effects
  • Western Mediterranean

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