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See detailThe effect of size, weight, body compartment, sex and reproductive status on the bioaccumulation of 19 trace elements in rope-grown Mytilus galloprovincialis
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Gobert, Sylvie ULg

in Ecological Indicators (2014), 36

Numerous trace elements (TEs) can be considered as potential pollutants of the environment, their mining productions and industrial uses increasing worldwide. Their monitoring can be achieved through the ... [more ▼]

Numerous trace elements (TEs) can be considered as potential pollutants of the environment, their mining productions and industrial uses increasing worldwide. Their monitoring can be achieved through the use of bioindicator species, such as the Mediterranean mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis (Lamarck, 1819). That species has been widely used to monitor the chemical pollution of coastal ecosystems by Cr, Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd, Pb, As, Ag and V. Conversely, environmental levels of Be, Al, Fe, Mn, Co, Se, Mo, Sn, Sb and Bi have been little or not monitored so far in mussel watch programs. Bioaccumulation processes of these 19 TEs in rope-grown M. galloprovincialis purchased from a salt pond with good chemical water quality were thus investigated in the present study. Mussels efficiently accumulated the 19 studied TEs. Bioaccumulation processes were driven by numerous mutually dependent biological parameters such as the mussel size and flesh weight, the sex and the reproductive status and the body compartment considered. TE bioaccumulation was a power function of the mussel soft body dry weight; total contents linearly increased with the shell length. Small-size mussels overall concentrated more TEs, with a high inter-individual variability, consequently influencing the modelling of their bioaccumulation in the whole rope population. Although a large range of rope-grown M. galloprovincialis sizes can be used for monitoring purposes, one will thus take care not to use extreme size individuals. The influence of gametogenesis in determining female body higher TE concentrations prior to spawning could not be neglected and varied depending on the element. TEs were preferentially accumulated in the hepatopancreas, except for Zn, Se, Cd and Mo, more concentrated in gills. Gametogenesis did not influence TE distribution between body compartments, but likely diluted their concentrations as a direct consequence of massive reproductive tissue production. So, results from the present study underline the potential use of M. galloprovincialis in the biomonitoring of numerous little studied TEs and give some insights into the decisive role played by some relevant biological parameters in bioaccumulation processes of the 19 investigated TEs in rope-grown mussels. [less ▲]

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See detailLiDAR derived ecological integrity indicators for riparian zones: Application to the Houille river in Southern Belgium/Northern France
Michez, Adrien ULg; Piégay, Hervé; Toromanoff, François ULg et al

in Ecological Indicators (2013), 34(0), 627-640

Riparian zones are central landscape features providing several ecosystem services and are exceptionally rich in biodiversity. Despite their relatively low area coverage, riparian zones consequently ... [more ▼]

Riparian zones are central landscape features providing several ecosystem services and are exceptionally rich in biodiversity. Despite their relatively low area coverage, riparian zones consequently represent a major concern for land and water resource managers confirmed within several European directives. These directives involve effective multi-scale monitoring to assess their conditions and their ability to carry out their functions. The objective of this research was to develop automated tools to provide from a single aerial LiDAR dataset new mapping tools and keystone riparian zone attributes assessing the ecological integrity of the riparian zone at a network scale (24 km reach). Different metrics were extracted from the original LiDAR point cloud, notably the Digital Terrain Model and Canopy Height Model rasters, allowing the extraction of riparian zones attributes such as the wetted channel (0.89 m; mean residual) and floodplain extents (6.02 m; mean residual). Different riparian forest characteristics were directly extracted from these layers (patch extent, overhanging character, longitudinal continuity, relative water level, mean and relative standard deviation of tree height). Within the riparian forest, the coniferous stands were distinguished from deciduous and isolated trees, with high accuracy (87.3 %, Kappa Index). Going further the mapping of the indicators, our study proposed an original approach to study the riparian zone attributes within different buffer width, from local scale (50 m long channel axis reach) to a network scale (ca 2 km long reaches), using a disaggregation/re-agraggation process. This novel approach, combined to graphical presentations of the results allow natural resource managers to visualise the variation of upstream-downstream attributes and to identify priority action areas. In the case study, results showed a general decrease of the riparian forests when the river crosses built-up areas. They also highlighted the lower flooding frequency of riparian forest patches in habitats areas. Those results showed that LiDAR data can be used to extract indicators of ecological integrity of riparian zones in temperate climate zone. They will enable the assessment of the ecological integrity of riparian zones to be undertaken at the regional scale (13000 km, completely covered by an aerial LIDAR survey in 2013). [less ▲]

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See detailTrophic relationships and mercury biomagnification in Brazilian tropical coastal food webs
Bisi, Tatiana; Lepoint, Gilles ULg; de Freitas Azevedo et al

in Ecological Indicators (2012), 18(0), 291-302

The present study investigated trophic relationships and mercury flow through food webs of three tropical coastal ecosystems: Guanabara, Sepetiba and Ilha Grande bays. The investigation was carried out ... [more ▼]

The present study investigated trophic relationships and mercury flow through food webs of three tropical coastal ecosystems: Guanabara, Sepetiba and Ilha Grande bays. The investigation was carried out through carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes (δ13C, δ15N) and total mercury (THg) determination in muscle from 35 species, including crustacean, cephalopod, fish and dolphin species. Detritivorous species showed the lowest average δ15N values in all bays. These species were 13C enriched in Sepetiba and Ilha Grande bays, suggesting the presence of 13C enriched macroalgae in their diet. The highest mean δ15N values were found in fish and benthic invertebrate feeders, as well as in species presenting demerso-pelagic feeding habit. The carbon and nitrogen isotopic findings showed different trophic relationship in food webs from Sepetiba, Guanabara and Ilha Grande bays. Guanabara Bay showed to be depleted in δ15N compared to both Sepetiba and Ilha Grande bays. The latter finding suggests substantial contribution of atmospheric nitrogen fixation by cyanobacteria. A positive linear relationship was found between log THg concentrations and δ15N values for Guanabara and Ilha Grande bays, but not for Sepetiba Bay. Our findings showed trophic magnification factors (TMF) above 1, demonstrating that THg is being biomagnified up the food chains in Rio de Janeiro bays. Highlights ► The δ13C and δ15N findings showed different trophic relationship in food webs from Rio de Janeiro bays. ► Guanabara Bay showed depleted δ15N values compared to Sepetiba and Ilha Grande bays. ► Ilha Grande Bay showed significant depleted δ13C values. ► Our findings indicate THg biomagnifications up food webs in Rio de Janeiro bays. ► Ilha Grande Bay food web showed the highest trophic magnification factor. [less ▲]

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See detailChemical contamination along the Mediterranean French coast using Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile above-ground tissues: a multiple trace element study
Luy, Nicolas; Gobert, Sylvie ULg; Sartoretto, Stéphane et al

in Ecological Indicators (2012), 18

Levels of Be, Al, V, Mn, Co, As, Se, Mo, Ag, Sn, Sb, Bi as well as of Cr, Fe, Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd and Pb in Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile from the Mediterranean French coast were analysed using DRC ICP-MS ... [more ▼]

Levels of Be, Al, V, Mn, Co, As, Se, Mo, Ag, Sn, Sb, Bi as well as of Cr, Fe, Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd and Pb in Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile from the Mediterranean French coast were analysed using DRC ICP-MS. The first twelve elements have not been well studied and can be considered to be potential pollutants as a result of potentially increased levels resulting from anthropogenic activities. Spatial variation and/or compartmentalization were found for all trace elements. Except for Al, Cr, Fe, Cu and Ag, most trace elements were preferentially accumulated in photosynthetic tissues, suggesting uptake from the water column. Moreover, for Be, V, Mn, Co, Ni, As, Mo, Sb, Sn and Pb, adult leaves had higher levels than intermediate leaves, suggesting low kinetics of accumulation. Levels in the third intermediate leaf were representative of the average levels of the integral shoot, and thus can be used alone in chemical biomonitoring. For most of the twelve little-studied trace elements, the background levels of the northwestern Mediterranean Sea can be measured, and their spatial variation can be related to anthropogenic activities. Levels of the seven widely studied trace elements seem to decrease or stabilize over time, probably due to their reduced anthropogenic use. These observations show that P. oceanica is a sensitive bioindicator for the monitoring of chemical contamination of a large number of trace elements. [less ▲]

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See detailA test for assessment of saproxylic beetle biodiversity using subsets of "monitoring species"
Sebek, P.; Barnouin, T.; Brin, A. et al

in Ecological Indicators (2012), 20

In European forests, large scale biodiversity monitoring networks need to be implemented - networks which include components such as taxonomical groups that are at risk and that depend directly on forest ... [more ▼]

In European forests, large scale biodiversity monitoring networks need to be implemented - networks which include components such as taxonomical groups that are at risk and that depend directly on forest stand structure. In this context, monitoring the species-rich group of saproxylic beetles is challenging. In the absence of sufficient resources to comprehensively survey a particular group, surrogates of species richness can be meaningful tools in biodiversity evaluations. In search of restricted subsets of species to use as surrogates of saproxylic beetle richness, we led a case study in Western Europe. Beetle data were compiled from 67 biodiversity surveys and ecological studies carried out from 1999 to 2010 with standardised trapping methods in France and Belgium. This large-scale dataset contains 642 forest plots, 1521 traps and 856 species. Twenty-two simplified species subsets were identified as potential surrogates, as well as the number of genera, a higher taxonomic level, taking into account, for each surrogate, the effort required for species identification, the practical monitoring experience necessary, the species conservation potential or the frequency of species occurrence. The performance of each surrogate was analyzed based on the following parameters: overall surrogacy (correlation between subset richness and total species richness), surrogacy vs. identification cost balance, surrogacy variation over a wide range of ecological conditions (forest type, altitude, latitude and bio-geographical area) and consistency with spatial scale. Ecological representativeness and ability to monitor rare species were supplementary criteria used to assess surrogate performance. The subsets consisting of the identifiable (or only easy-to-identify species) could easily be applied in practice and appear to be the best performing subsets, from a global point of view. The number of genera showed good prediction at the trap level and its surrogacy did not vary across wide environmental gradients. However, the subset of easy-to-identify species and the genus number were highly sensitive to spatial scale, which limits their use in large-scale studies. The number of rare species or the species richness of single beetle families (even the best single-family subset, the Cerambycidae) was very weak surrogates for total species richness. Conversely, the German list of monitoring species had high surrogacy, low identification costs and was not strongly influenced by the main geographical parameters, even with our French and Belgian data. In European-wide monitoring networks, such internationally validated subsets could be very useful with regard to the timing and cost-efficiency of field inventories. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. [less ▲]

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See detailRapid restoration of a species-rich ecosystem assessed from soil and vegetation indicators: the case of calcareous grasslands restored from forest stands
Piqueray, Julien ULg; Bottin, Gaëtan; Delescaille, Louis-Marie et al

in Ecological Indicators (2011), 11

Calcareous grasslands have long been recognized as biodiversity hotspots in Europe. However, in recent decades these ecosystems have seen rapid decline. In Belgium, more than 100 ha of calcareous ... [more ▼]

Calcareous grasslands have long been recognized as biodiversity hotspots in Europe. However, in recent decades these ecosystems have seen rapid decline. In Belgium, more than 100 ha of calcareous grasslands have been restored from oak coppices and pine forests since the 1990s. The aim of the present study was to provide a quantitative assessment of the success of these restoration efforts, using two sets of indicators: one related to soil conditions, the other related to vascular plant communities. Soil conditions were evaluated by comparing soil samples from pre-restoration forest stands, restored grasslands (3 age classes: 2-4 years; 5-8 years, 10-15 years) and reference grasslands. The analysis revealed no significant differences in soil N, P and K contents between pre-restoration forests and restored and reference grasslands. We observed a decrease in the mineralization rate indicators in both pre-restoration forests and recent grassland restorations, which was resorbed in older restorations. Floristic surveys revealed that plant species composition of older restorations was most like reference grasslands. However, some differences in species composition persisted after 15 years. Moreover, a few rare species did not colonise restored grasslands despite a close seed source. Non-recolonization by a set of species expected on calcareous grasslands may be due to dispersal limitation and higher cover by native invasive grasses in restored parcels. These results were discussed in term of implications for management. [less ▲]

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See detailFragmentation in the Legal Amazon, Brazil: Can landscape metrics indicate agricultural policy differences?
Colson, F; Bogaert, Jan ULg; Ceulemans, R

in Ecological Indicators (2011), 11

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See detailSpider communities as evaluation tools for wet heathland restoration
Cristofoli, Sara ULg; Mahy, Grégory ULg; Kekenbosh, Robert et al

in Ecological Indicators (2010), 10

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See detailThe influence of forest definition on landscape fragmentation assessment in Rondônia, Brazil
Colson, F; Bogaert, Jan ULg; Carneiro Filho, A. et al

in Ecological Indicators (2009), 9

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See detailDescriptors of Posidonia oceanica meadows: Use and application
Pergent-Martini, Christine; Leoni, Vanina; Pasqualini, Vanina et al

in Ecological Indicators (2005), 5(3), 213-230

The conservation of the coastal marine environment requires the possession of information that enables the global quality of the environment to be evaluated reliably and relatively quickly. The use of ... [more ▼]

The conservation of the coastal marine environment requires the possession of information that enables the global quality of the environment to be evaluated reliably and relatively quickly. The use of biological indicators is often an appropriate method. Seagrasses in general, and Posidonia oceanica meadows in particular, are considered to be appropriate for biomonitoring because of their wide distribution, reasonable size, sedentary habit, easy collection and abundance and sensitivity to modifications of littoral zone. Reasoned management, on the scale of the whole Mediterranean basin, requires standardized methods of study, to be applied by both researchers and administrators, enabling comparable results to be obtained. This paper synthesises the existing methods applied to monitor P. oceanica meadows, identifies the most suitable techniques and suggests future research directions. From the results of a questionnaire, distributed to all the identified laboratories working on this topic, a list of the most commonly used descriptors was drawn up, together with the related research techniques (e.g. standardization, interest and limits, valuation of the results). It seems that the techniques used to study meadows are rather similar, but rarely identical, even though the various teams often refer to previously published works. This paper shows the interest of a practical guide that describes, in a standardized way, the most useful techniques enabling P. oceanica meadows to be used as an environmental descriptor. Indeed, it constitutes the first stage in the process. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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See detailEntropy increase of fragmented habitats: a sign of human impact?
Bogaert, Jan ULg; Farina, A; Ceulemans, R

in Ecological Indicators (2005), 5(3), 207-212

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