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Benthic indicators: from subjectivity to objectivity – Where is the line?
Dauvin, J.-C.; Bellan, G.; Bellan-Santini, D. (2010). Benthic indicators: from subjectivity to objectivity – Where is the line? Mar. Pollut. Bull. 60(7): 947-953.
In: Marine Pollution Bulletin. Macmillan: London. ISSN 0025-326X; e-ISSN 1879-3363
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Benthic indicators; Soft-bottom community; Subjectivity; Objectivity; Expert judgement

Authors  Top 
  • Dauvin, J.-C., more
  • Bellan, G., more
  • Bellan-Santini, D., more

    Over the last few years, the interest in using benthic indicators to assess marine environments has increased dramatically after a rather long period of relative stagnation, mostly due to the need to assess the status of coastal marine waters required by North American and European regulations. Numerous papers on this topic have been published in the domain of ecology, using a variety of different terms to refer to two categories of information: benthic species and the status of benthic communities. Nowadays, the abundant literature on these two categories makes it possible to comment on (1) the definition of the different terms used by benthic researchers, (2) the current increase of papers of rising complexity about benthic indicators, and (3) the subjectivity and objectivity involved in using benthic indicators. Faced with the increase in the number of methods, we recommend pragmatism and thus the transfer of simple methods to the research consultancies that are responsible for assessing benthic quality in numerous impact studies. Using certain procedures, such as the “sentinel species”, the best professional judgement (BPJ) and taxonomic sufficiency (TS), should clearly be encouraged.

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