[en] 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.