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Benthic foraminifera to assess ecological quality statuses: The case of salmon fish farming

Abstract : The “Rade de Cherbourg” (RdC, Cotentin) hosts the only marine salmon fish farm along the French coasts. High hydrodynamic regime would limit, there, organic matter (OM) accumulation directly under the cages, and enhance the transport of OM in the surrounding of the cages. This study was aiming at (1) monitoring the impact of a salmon fish farm on ecological quality statuses (EcoQs) of the RdC based on a benthic foraminiferal biotic index, (2) comparing EcoQs assessment results between foraminifera and macrofauna, and (3) in fine assessing the potential for benthic foraminifera to become an alternate biological quality element. In 2014 and 2015, bottom sediments of the RdC were sampled at 13 stations under and outside the farm for sedimentary (grain size and OM), and living foraminiferal and macrofaunal analyses. For benthic foraminifera, Exp(H’bc) was used to determine EcoQs, while H’, AMBI and BO2A indices were used for benthic macrofauna. Rank-frequency distributions (RFDs) were calculated for both groups. Ecological quality statuses based on foraminifera and macrofauna indicated a moderate degradation of the environmental conditions, shifting from excellent outside the farm to poor under the cages for foraminifera and from excellent to moderate for macrofauna. This study showed that benthic foraminifera are as reliable as macrofauna to assess EcoQs in the RdC. It offers interesting perspectives to monitor the health of marine systems based on benthic foraminifera. Furthermore, results obtained with RFDs suggested that this approach should be considered in the assessment of the good environmental status within the European marine strategic framework directive. Finally, diversity proved to be efficient in monitoring the health of the RdC, suggesting that it should not be set aside for the benefit of sensitivity-based indices.
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https://hal-normandie-univ.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02874549
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Submitted on : Thursday, June 18, 2020 - 10:07:15 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, June 23, 2020 - 3:33:11 PM

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Vincent M.P. Bouchet, Noémie Deldicq, Noémie Baux, Jean-Claude Dauvin, Jean-Philippe Pezy, et al.. Benthic foraminifera to assess ecological quality statuses: The case of salmon fish farming. Ecological Indicators, Elsevier, 2020, 117, pp.106607. ⟨10.1016/j.ecolind.2020.106607⟩. ⟨hal-02874549⟩

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