Determining the Ecological Status of Benthic Coastal Communities: A Case in an Anthropized Sub-Arctic Area

Type Article
Date 2021-03
Language English
Author(s) Dreujou Elliot1, 2, 3, Desroy Nicolas4, Carrière Julie5, 6, Tréau De Coeli Lisa2, 3, 7, McKindsey Christopher W.2, 7, Archambault Philippe2, 3, 6
Affiliation(s) 1 : Institut des Sciences de la Mer, Université du Québec à Rimouski, Rimouski, QC, Canada
2 : Québec-Océan, Université Laval, Québec, QC, Canada
3 : Takuvik Joint Université Laval/Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Laboratory, Université Laval, Québec, QC, Canada
4 : Laboratoire Environnement Ressources Bretagne Nord, Institut Français pour la Recherche et l’Exploitation de la Mer, Dinard, France
5 : Institut Nordique de Recherche en Environnement et en Santé au Travail, Sept-Îles, QC, Canada
6 : Département de Biologie, Université Laval, Québec, QC, Canada
7 : Maurice Lamontagne Institute, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Mont-Joli, QC, Canada
Source Frontiers in Marine Science (2296-7745) (Frontiers Media SA), 2021-03 , Vol. 8 , P. 637546 (16p.)
DOI 10.3389/fmars.2021.637546
Keyword(s) environmental indicators, ecological status, coastal benthos, macrofauna, Gulf of St. Lawrence
Abstract

With the widespread influence of human activities on marine ecosystems, evaluation of ecological status provides valuable information for conservation initiatives and sustainable development. To this end, many environmental indicators have been developed worldwide and there is a growing need to evaluate their performance by calculating ecological status in a wide range of ecosystems at multiple spatial and temporal scales. This study calculated and contrasted sixteen indicators of ecological status from three methodological categories: abundance measures, diversity parameters and characteristic species. This selection was applied to coastal benthic ecosystems at Sept-Îles (Québec, Canada), an important industrial harbor area in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and related to habitat parameters (organic matter, grain size fractions, and heavy metal concentrations). Nearly all indicators highlighted a generally good ecological status in the study area, where communities presented an unperturbed profile with high taxa and functional diversities and without the dominance of opportunistic taxa. Some correlations with habitat parameters were detected, especially with heavy metals, and bootstrap analyses indicated quite robust results. This study provides valuable information on the application of environmental indicators in Canadian coastal ecosystems, along with insights on their use for environmental assessments.

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How to cite 

Dreujou Elliot, Desroy Nicolas, Carrière Julie, Tréau De Coeli Lisa, McKindsey Christopher W., Archambault Philippe (2021). Determining the Ecological Status of Benthic Coastal Communities: A Case in an Anthropized Sub-Arctic Area. Frontiers in Marine Science, 8, 637546 (16p.). Publisher's official version : https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2021.637546 , Open Access version : https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00687/79910/