WP 2.2 Macrozoobenthos

Description of the diversity status of benthic communities

The diversity of communities of organisms living on or in the seabed (benthos) is investigated in relation to the prevailing fishing intensity in the three proteected areas areas Sylter Outer Reef, Borkum Reef Ground and Doggerbank in WP 2.2. The present status of organisms in the seabed (endofauna, Marine Biology, Senckenberg am Meer Wilhelmshaven) as well as of organisms on the seabed (epifauna, Marine Zoology, SF Frankfurt) are assessed in the marine protected areas. Following the future exclusion of mobile bottom-contact fishing in parts of the protected areas, possible positive effects of this action on the species, communities and their habitats will be documented. The ship-based sampling is carried out in the area of fisheries exclusion and reference areas using standard devices such as the 0.1m2 van Veen grab and sieve mesh widths of 0.5 mm and 1 mm (endofauna) or 2m beam trawl and dredge with a net mesh width of 1 cm (epifauna). The application of standard devices and methods allows the comparison with existing data collected over the last four decades. In this way, longer periods of time can be examined enabling the use of a BACI approach (Before-After-Control-Impact) for the evaluation of the mobile bottom-contact fisheries exclusion. In this way, the potential recovery and succession of the fauna from the effects of bottom-contact fisheries will be documented and a framework for future monitoring of the marine protected areas will be provided.

Endo- und Epifauna

Endofauna are animal communities living within the sediment, while Epifauna are animal communities living on the seafloor.