Benthic Indicator Species Index to evaluate quality status North Sea

To evaluate habitat quality, sea floor integrity and ecological functioning of the Dutch North Sea the Benthic Indicator Species Index (BISI) has been developed. The BISI is specifically developed to deliver to the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) reporting, evaluate the effectivity of management measures and provide information for Habitat Directive-habitat evaluations. The BISI compares temporal patterns (absence/presence, or densities) of combinations of specific indicator species with predefined reference levels of these species that represent a good status. BISI can be used at different spatial scales (e.g. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), Natura 2000 areas, specific ecotopes and habitats) and additionally provides evidence for possible causes and effects of observed patterns in quality status (developments).

The BISI is developed by Ecoauthor in cooperation with Wageningen Marine Research (WMR) commissioned by the Dutch Ministries of Economic Affairs (EZ) and of Infrastructure and Environment (IenM)).

The BISI is potentially applicable in other regions than the Dutch North Sea as well. At present Ecoauthor is amongst others working on the T2015 evaluation of the Dutch North Sea on basis of BISI and the adjustment of BISI for wider application.

The indicator is presented in:

Wijnhoven, S. & Bos, O.G. (2017). Benthische Indicator Soorten Index (BISI): Ontwikkelingsproces en beschrijving van de Nationale Benthos Indicator Noordzee inclusief protocol voor toepassing. Ecoauthor Report Series 2017-02, Heinkenszand, the Netherlands (in Dutch).


Wijnhoven, S. & Bos, O.G. (2017). Benthic Indicator Species Index (BISI): Development process and description of the National Benthos Indicator North Sea including a protocol for application. Ecoauthor Report Series 2017-02, Heinkenszand, the Netherlands (in English).

With a protocol of application (written in English):

Wijnhoven, S. (2017a). Protocol Benthic Indicator Species Index (BISI). Annex 1 of Wijnhoven & Bos (2017).

And an assessment tool (in English):

Wijnhoven, S. (2017b) Assessment tool ‘Benthic Indicator Species Index (BISI)’ v260917. Excel-file with specification of the indicator for the areas of the Dutch EEZ to be evaluated and application for the situation in 2015 (T0). Appendix 2 of Wijnhoven & Bos (2017).