Dr Abigail McQuatters-Gollop, lecturer in marine conservation, led the first regional pelagic habitat biodiversity assessment in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean, launched in June 2017.
The Intermediate Assessment 2017 (IA2017) was coordinated by OSPAR, the Northeast Atlantic regional seas commission, and will help fulfil the UK’s obligation to the EU for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, a high profile piece of marine policy. IA2017 considers, for the first time, the biodiversity of marine ecosystems and links changes to human pressures. This information is used to guide conservation and policy decisions. Abigail chairs the Pelagic Habitats Expert Group, which used dozens of plankton time-series to develop biodiversity indicators and construct assessments. The Expert Group found that significant changes are occurring in plankton communities throughout the Northeast Atlantic, causing alterations in foodwebs that may impact fisheries. The scale of IA2017 is impressive – policy makers and scientists from 15 different countries and the EU worked together to assess the state of the Northeast Atlantic. The results will be used to support marine policy and management to ensure the achievement of good environmental status in European marine waters.