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NatureScot / JNCC / MSS Workshop to Review the Suite of Marine Biodiversity Indicators for Scotland’s Seas: Workshop Report 2022


This report summarises the outcomes from a collaborative workshop held in March 2022. Its aim was to review the suite of marine biodiversity indicators currently being used in Scotland, to identify lessons learned in their use, particularly relating to Scotland’s Marine Assessment 2020, and to identify opportunities to improve and support future assessment work. The focus was on Scottish marine waters, but the workshop considered a range of indicators from those used as official statistics in Scotland, through to those used for the UK Marine Strategy (UKMS) and OSPAR. A total of 32 people attended the one-day event from six different organisations: NatureScot, JNCC, Marine Scotland Science, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, the Scottish Association for Marine Science and the University of Edinburgh. Their contributions to the event are gratefully acknowledged.

Workshop discussions focused on biodiversity indicators relevant to eight specific groups: seabirds; waterbirds; inshore fish; non-native species; food webs; extent of physical disturbance to seafloor/special habitats; biogenic habitats and intertidal seagrass; and deep-sea vulnerable marine habitats and deep-sea fish. A variety of topics were discussed, relating to both current issues and future development needs for indicators. These included research gaps, issues with data collection and data flows, and potential developments related to monitoring and reporting on climate change impacts and other pressures.
A series of recommendations were made regarding the future development and application of marine biodiversity indicators, summarised as follows:

  1. Recognise the important role of indicators in marine biodiversity assessment.
  2. Clarify relationships between indicators, including more integration to improve interpretation of results and overall assessments.
  3. Further develop indicators to improve accuracy and applications.
  4. Recognise the requirement for more supporting or contextual research.
  5. Explore opportunities to improve existing methods to better understand climate change and ocean acidification effects.
  6. Improve opportunities for data collection for better accuracy and interpretation of results.
  7. Improve data access for existing activities and pressures data.
  8. Improve data flows for easier discoverability.
  9. Enhance the role and value of citizen science.
  10. Use focused case studies to complement indicator results and highlight local issues.

This report will inform the ongoing development of marine biodiversity indicators and support future assessment work by marine science and policy specialists. This includes Scotland’s Seas Data and Assessment Group where these recommendations will support consideration of the next steps for future assessments of the state of Scotland’s seas. Recommendations will also feed into future developments for monitoring and assessment under the UKMS and OSPAR.

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Resource type Publication

Topic category Environment

Reference date 2022·10·01

Lee, A. (compiler). 2022. NatureScot / JNCC / MSS Workshop to Review the Suite of Marine Biodiversity Indicators for Scotland’s Seas: Workshop Report. JNCC, Peterborough.

This workshop report was produced in collaboration between JNCC, NatureScot and Marine Scotland Science.

Responsible organisation
Communications, JNCC publisher

Limitations on public access No limitations

Use constraints None

Metadata date 2022·10·27

Metadata point of contact
Communications, JNCC

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