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Editorial: Bridging the gap between policy and science in assessing the health status of marine ecosystems

Borja, Angel; Elliott, M. (Michael), 1952 November 3-; Snelgrove, Paul V. R., 1962- ; Austen, Melanie C.; Berg, Torsten; Cochrane, Sabine K. J.; Carstensen, Jacob, 1966-; Danovaro, Roberto; Greenstreet, Simon P. R.; Heiskanen, Anna-Stiina; Lynam, Christopher P.; Mea, Marianna; Newton, Alice; Patrício, Joana Mateus, 1977-; Uusitalo, Laura; Uyarra, Maria C.; Wilson, Christian


Angel Borja

María C. Uyarra

Jacob Carstensen

Marianna Mea


Human activities,both established and emerging, increasingly affect the provision of marine ecosystem services that deliver societal and economic benefits. Monitoring the status of marine ecosystems and determining how human activities change their capacity to sustain benefits for society requires an evidence-based Integrated Ecosystem Assessment approach that incorporates knowledge of ecosystem functioning and services).Although,there are diverse methods to assess the status of individual ecosystem components, none assesses the health of marine ecosystems holistically, integrating information from multiple ecosystem components. Similarly,while acknowledging the availability of several methods to measure single pressures and assess their impacts, evaluation of cumulative effects of multiple pressures remains scarce.Therefore,an integrative assessment requires us to first understand the response of marine ecosystems to human activities and their pressures and then develop innovative, cost-effective monitoring tools that enable collection of data to assess the health status of large marine areas. Conceptually, combining this knowledge of effective monitoring methods with cost-benefit analyses will help identify appropriate management measures to improve environmental status economically and efficiently. The European project DEVOTES (DEVelopment Of innovative Tools for understanding marine biodiversity and assessing good Environmental Status) specifically addressed these topics in order to support policymakers and managers in implementing the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Here, we synthesize our main innovative findings, placing these within the context of recent wider research, and identifying gaps and the major future challenges.

Book Type Book Chapter
Journal Bridging the gap between policy and science in assessing the health status of marine ecosystems
Electronic ISSN 2296-7745
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
ISBN 9782889450046
Keywords Environmental status, Marine health, Status assessment, Management, Ecosystem approach, Socioecology
Copyright Statement © 2016 Borja, Elliott, Snelgrove, Austen, Berg, Cochrane, Carstensen, Danovaro, Greenstreet, Heiskanen, Lynam, Mea, Newton, Patrício, Uusitalo, Uyarra and Wilson. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.


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