Marine Research Findings of the VECTORS Project

This website provides access to the research results of the VECTORS project, which can be used to support marine management decisions, policies and governance as well as future research and investment. VECTORS was a large scale project that brought together more than 200 expert researchers from 16 different countries. It examined the significant changes taking place in European seas, their causes, and the impacts they will have on society.

Land-based pollution

Land-based pollution involves a number of inter-related pressures such as eutrophication, hypoxia, turbidity, redox potential discontinuity, and various types of biological and chemical contamination.

Eutrophication is a common problem in all three seas considered. In the Baltic Sea it is mainly related to farming and managed forestry. In the Western Mediterranean Sea, eutrophic conditions are increasingly reported in the last decades in coastal and transitional waters, leading to dystrophic crises and benthic and fish kills. Some regions of the North Sea receive large quantities of anthropogenic nutrients through large rivers, and to a lesser extent from atmospheric deposition and discharges from plants that treat wastewater.

The main areas affected by hypoxia in the Mediterranean Sea are coastal zones and lagoons where environmental features are: low depth, high productivity, organic matter enrichment and low hydrodynamic forces. In the Baltic Sea hypoxia is widespread in large areas both in the open deeper parts and at coastal stations. A side effect is increased release of phosphorous from sediments, giving a feed back to eutrophication. In the North Sea, hypoxia can occur seasonally particularly under stratified conditions in areas with high rates of production by phytoplankton.

VECTORS results are of help in identifying causes and effects of land-based pollution and in suggesting priorities for management and prevention.

VECTORS research focus:

  1. Determine the effect of land-based pollution on population dynamics in coastal areas
  2. Determine the role of nutrient loads for primary production
  3. Assess the effects of land-based pollution on aquaculture activities
  4. Suggest management strategies to mitigate the effects of land based pollution

Lead Author

Paolo Domenici

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The content of this website may be subject to copyright, if you wish to use any of the information or figures please contact the attributed author(s).
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 266445
© Vectors 2015. Coordinated by Plymouth Marine Laboratory.

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