Activity 3

Category: Activities

Evaluation of Physical Effects on Biodiversity of Benthic Habitats

Aim: To evaluate the effects of wave energy and suspended particles on the biological diversity and prevalence of underwater habitats along the coastline.


Objectives and expected outcomes:

3.1. Development of gradient for key influencing factors

Description: The information obtained in Activity 2 will be used to develop the spatial physical influence gradient for the project territory for each of the influencing factors (waves, streams, suspended particles) separately and cumulatively (by pooling all identified influences) and also for the territories with the highest dynamic of the influence according to the results of the modelling, and the dynamics will be analysed by identifying the spatial interval of the dynamics.

Outcome: A developed database and GIS layers (map) with gradients of physical influence.

3.2. Evaluation of biological diversity against the gradient of influence

Description: The information available from previous projects will be analysed to compare the properties which describe biological diversity in territories of the same type (substrate, depth, etc.) with different levels of physical influences (Objective 1). The parameters describing the level of the surveyed influences will be identified within the available data. As necessary for the purposes of the analysis, statistical tests will be used, such as cluster analysis and analysis of principal components. The data of the analysis and scientific sources will be used to develop a set of properties which describe the responses of biodiversity to increased physical loads. The developed influence gradient map will be used to set up a fieldwork programme within which the required additional information will be acquired and which will include in-situ verification of the hypothesis suggested with regard to the responses of the characteristic properties of biodiversity to loads of various levels. In the fieldwork program 3 people involved in the 3rd activity will be included. 

Outcome: Identified characteristic properties of biodiversity which are influenced by the level of physical influence. Obtained (from fieldwork) and processed additional information which describes the level of physical influence and has not been adequately recorded in previous studies.

3.3. Assessment of non-linearity of responses of biodiversity, identification of the critical breakpoints

Description: A comparative analysis of the current biodiversity data and that obtained during the fieldwork will be carried out against the load of the physical influence. Assessments will be carried out to determine whether biodiversity variations are linear against the load level changes. If, like in other geographical regions, the findings suggest non-linear responses, an analysis of non-linearity will be carried out, and work will be done to identify the breakpoint.

Outcome: Tested hypothesis about non-linear responses of biodiversity to physical influences.