The overall objectives of the EULIT project are to predict the response of rocky shore ecosystems to increased nutrient availability by
(1) modelling the changes in ecosystem processes,
(2) evaluating the increased production of herbivores,
(3) assessing effects on growth responses of key organisms, and (4) predicting the resulting ecosystem structure and metabolism.
In doing so, EULIT would allow the formulation of tolerable nutrient inputs to coastal waters, and to evaluate the capacity of increase' production of animal protein as a side benefit of the buffering effect exerted by herbivores.
The project address the following intentions:
(1) To improve the health of the coastal ecosystem and environmental management.
(2) To understand the coastal ecosystems necessary to advance the sustainable use of the living marine resources.
(3) To answer needs of European industry in the fields of marine exploitation. (4) To create synergy between research groups.
(5) To take advantage of the partners network, ensuring a good integration of environmental protection issues.
Eight basins (mesocosms) are constructed for littoral community experiments. Changes in ecosystem structure and flow of energy and matter will be measured by biomass and abundance of plant and animal communities, organismal size spectra, biodiversity, chemical analyses and metabolic measures. The link between subsystem measurements and the whole system behaviour in the mesocosms is regarded as an outstanding feature. Population responses as causes of ecosystem change will be measured as growth and productivity of all important plant components and metabolism, growth and reproductive effort of the most important fauna groups. Plant-grazer interactions will be studied in relation to nutrient richness in the system, as grazing rate by herbivores and food quality, and the faunal community change versus changes in the algal assemblage Species interactions and succession patterns between functional groups as changes from a dominance by detrivores to a dominance by herbivores as a result of increased nutrient richness will be described. An effective data bank will support the statistical analyses and the modelling tool. The 10 partners, associated partners origin from five universities, four research institutes and one industrial partner situated in seven different countries.
Keywords: nutrients, seawater, eutrophication, macroalgae, benthic animals, mesocosms, primary production, community structure, ecosystem modelling.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
20520 Turku / Abo
6700 AA Wageningen
106 91 Stockholm