| More

Ecological Quality Status of the Algiers coastal waters by using macroalgae assemblages as bioindicators (Algeria, Mediterranean Sea)

Views: 1082 Downloads: 438


Macroalgae assemblages have been used as a quality element for the assessment of the Ecological Status Classes (ESC) of coastal water bodies for the implementation of the European Water Framework Directive (WFD, 2000/60/EC). To assess the suitability of this quality element in Algiers coasts, seven sampling sites with five (5) replications covering a wide range of anthropogenic pressures were studied during spring and summer 2015. Coverage data of macroalgae in each sampling site were analyzed on species, i.e., structural (species number, nMDS, clustering, K-dominance and Simper analysis on Bray–Curtis similarity) and on Ecological Status Groups, i.e., functional (nMDS, clustering, K-dominance, Ecological Evaluation Index/EEI-c) biological levels. Key water variables (temperature, salinity and pH) along with the anthropogenic stress index MALUSI were also estimated. The obtained results revealed a significant effect of anthropogenic stress in the macroalgal assemblages. The structural analysis showed: (1) species richness of 86 taxa in total, (2) dominance of Cystoseira amentacea var. stricta (late-successional) associated by Lithophyllum incrustans, and Jania rubens in non-impacted sites and of Ulva rigida, Ulva intestinalis and Caulerpa cylindracea (opportunistic) species in impacted sites, and (3) record a higher proportion of low abundance of species in polluted communities than in less polluted communities. The functional analysis showed: (1) classification of sites based on multivariate and K-dominance analyses in four groups, three in agreement with water degradation, and one for low salinity influence, (2) classification of sites into “Bad”, ”High”, “Moderate” and “Good” ESC’s by EEI-c index, (3) a strong non-linear relationship (R²=0.85) of EEI-c index with MALUSI index. Therefore, to implement a national monitoring program within the scope WFD in Algeria coasts, the EEI-c index will be a suitable tool.


Ecological evaluation index (EEI-c), functional groups, macroalgae inventory, species number.

Full Text:



Amaral, H.B.F., Reis R.P., Figueiredo M.A.O., Pedrini A.G., 2018. Decadal shifts in macroalgae assemblages in impacted urban lagoons in Brazil. Ecological Indicators, 85, 869-877.

Ar Gall, E., Le Duffa, M., Sauriaub, P.G., de Casamajorc, M.N., Gevaertd, F. et al., 2016. Implementation of a new index to assess intertidal seaweed communities as bioindicators for the European Water Framework Directory. Ecological Indicators, 60, 162-173.

Arévalo, R., Pinedo, S., Ballesteros, E., 2007. Changes in the composition and structure of Mediterranean rocky-shore communities following a gradient of nutrient enrichment: descriptive study and test of proposed methods to assess water quality regarding macroalgae. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 55, 104-113.

Bakalem, A., Ruellet, T., Dauvin, J.C., 2009. Benthic indices and ecological quality of shallow Algeria fine sand community. Ecological Indicators, 9, 395-408.

Ballesteros, E., 1984. Els vegetals i la zonagiólitoral: especies, comunitats i factorsque influeixen en la sevadistribució. Tesis Doctoral. Universidad de Barcelona, 587 pp.

Ballesteros, E., Torras, X., Pinedo, S., Garcıa, M., Mangialajo, L. et al., 2007. A new methodology based on littoral community cartography dominated by macroalgae for the implementation of the European Water Framework Directive. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 55, 172-180.

Belkacem, Y., Benfares, R., Houma Bachari, F., 2016. Potential Impacts of Discharges from Seawater Reverse Osmosis on Algeria Marine Environment. Journal of Environmental Engineering and Science, 5, 131-138.

Benamar, M.A., Toumert, I., Tobbeche, S., Tchantchane, A., Chalabi, A., 1999. Assessment of the state of pollution by heavy metals in the surficial sediments of Algiers Bay. Applied Radiation and Isotopes, 50, 975-980.

Benedetti-Cecchi, L., Pannacciulli, F., Bulleri, F., Moschella, P.S., Airoldi, L. et al., 2001. Predicting the consequences of anthropogenic disturbance: Large-scale effects of loss of canopy algae on rocky shores. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 214, 137-150.

Bermejo, R., Mangialajo, L., Vergara, J.J., Hernández, I., 2014. Comparison of two indices based on macrophyte assemblages to assess the ecological status of coastal waters in the transition between the Atlantic and Mediterranean eco-regions. Journal of Applied Phycology, 26, 1899-1909.

Boudouresque, C.F., 1970. Recherche de Bionomie analytique, structurale, et expérimentale sur les peuplements benthiques sciaphiles de Méditerranée occidentale (fraction algale). PhD Thesis. Aix-Marseille II, France, 624 pp.

Boudouresque, C.F., 1971. Méthodes d’étude qualitative et quantitative du benthos (en particulier du phytobenthos). Tethys, France, 3 (1), 79-104.

Boudouresque, C.F., 1996. Impact de l’homme et conservation du milieu marin en Méditerranée. 2ème édition. GIS Posidonie Publishers, Marseille, 243 pp.

Boudouresque, C.F., 2002. Protected marine species, prevention of species introduction and the national environmental agencies of Mediterranean countries: professionalism or amateurishness? p. 75-85. In: Actes du congrès international “Environnement et identité en Méditerranée”, Corte, 3-5 Juillet 2002. Université de Corse Pascal Paoli Publisher, France.

Boutiba, Z., Taleb, M. Z., AbiAyad, S.M. El A., 2003. Etat de la pollution marine de la côte oranaise. Dar El Gharb, Oran, 69 pp.

Bulleri, F., Benedetti-Cecchi, L., Acunto, S., Cinelli, F., Hawkins, S.J., 2002. The influence of canopy algae on vertical patterns of distribution of low-shore assemblages on rocky coasts in the Northwest Mediterranean. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 267 (1), 89-106.

Buosi, A., Sfriso, A., 2017. Macrophyte assemblage composition as a simple tool to assess global change in coastal areas. Freshwater impacts and climatic changes. Science of the Total Environment, 605-606, 559-568.

Caldeira, A.Q., De Paula, J.C., Reisb, R.P., Giordano, R.G., 2017. Structural and functional losses in macroalgal assemblages in a south eastern Brazilian bay over more than a decade. Ecological Indicators, 75, 242-248.

Cirik, Ş., Cihangir, B., Choukhi, A., Lök, A., Metin, C. et al., 2001. Research on Caulerpa species in Mediterranean. Final Report, No DBTE 128.

Clarke, K.R., 1993. Non-parametric multivariate analyses of changes in community structure. Australian Journal of Ecology, 18, 117-143.

Cloern, J.E., 2001. Our evolving conceptual model of the coastal eutrophication problem. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 210, 223-253.

Crowe, T.P., Thompson, R.C., Bray, S., Hawkins, S.J., 2000. Impacts of anthropogenic stress on rocky intertidal communities. Journal of Aquatic Ecosystem Stress and Recovery, 7, 273-297.

De Jonge, V.N., Elliott, M., Orive, E., 2002. Causes, historical development, effects and future challenges of a common environmental problem: eutrophication. Hydrobiology, 475-476, 1-19.

Delépine, R., Boudouresque, C.F., Frada-Orestano, C., Noailles, M.C., Asensi, A., 1987. Algues et autres végétaux marins. Fiches FAO d’identification des espèces pour les besoins de la pêche. Méditerranée et Mer Noire. Zone de pêche 37. Vol. 1. F.A.O Publishers, Rome, 136 pp.

Duarte, C.M., 1995. Submerged aquatic vegetation in relation to different nutrient regimes. Ophelia, 41, 87-112.

Flo, E., Camp, J., Garcés, E., 2011. Review of the Methods, Criteria and Limit Values for the Assessment of Eutrophication (Biological Quality Element Phytoplankton) as Developed in the Framework of the Intercalibration Exercise of the MED GIG (Mediterranean Eco-region) Water Framework Directive 2000/60 EC. UNEP(DEPI)/MED WG.365/Inf.7, Athens, 41 pp.

Gabriel, D., Micael, J., Parente, M.I., Costa, A.C., 2014. Adaptation of macroalgal indexes to evaluate the ecological quality of coastal waters in oceanic islands with subtropical influence: the Azores (Portugal). Revista de Gestão Costeira Integrada, 14, 175-184.

Gorostiaga, J.M., Díez, I., 1996. Changes in the sublittoral benthic marine macroalgae in the polluted area of Abra de Bilbao and proximal coast (northern Spain). Marine Ecology Progress Series, 130, 157-167.

Grimes, S., 2003. Bilan et Diagnostic National de la pollution marine de la cote Algérienne liée à des activités menées à terre. Programme d’actions stratégiques (PAS) destine à combattre la pollution due à des activités menées à terre et de sa stratégie opérationnelle. Rapport PAM, PAS MED, MEDPOL, 61 pp.

Grimes, S., Ruellet, T., Dauvin, J.C., Boutiba, Z., 2010. Ecological Quality Status of the soft-bottom communities on the Algerian coast: General patterns and diagnosis. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 60, 1969-1977.

Guinda, X., Juanes, J.A., Puente, A., Revilla, J.A., 2008. Comparison of two methods for quality assessment of macroalgae assemblages, under different pollution types. Ecological Indicators, 8, 743-753.

Guiry, M.D., Guiry, G.M., 2017. Algae Base. World-wide electronic publication, National University of Ireland, Galway. http://www.algaebase.org (Accessed 10 December 2017)

Holling, C.S., 1973. Resilience and Stability of Ecological Systems. Annual Review of Ecological and Systematics, 4, 1-23.

Houma, F., Bachouche, S., Bachari, N.E.I., Belkessa, R., 2013. Contribution of satellite measurements to the modeling and monitoring of the quality of coastal seawater, Perspectives in Water Pollution. Intech Open, Imran Ahmad Dar, 220, 10.5772-53375.

Juanes, J.A., Guinda, X., Puente, A., Revilla, J.A., 2008. Macroalgae, a suitable indicator of the ecological status of coastal rocky communities in the NE Atlantic. Ecological Indicators, 8, 351-359.

Karez, R., Engelbert, S., Kraufvelin, P., Pedersen, M.F., Sommer, U., 2004. Biomass response and changes in composition of ephemeral macroalgal assemblages along an experimental gradient of nutrient enrichment. Aquatic Botany, 78, 103-117.

Laib, E., Leghouchi, E., 2012. Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb, and Zn concentrations in Ulva lactuca, Codium fragile, Jania rubens, and Dictyota dichotoma from Rabta Bay, Jijel (Algeria). Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 184, 1711-1718.

Larid, M., 2003. Analyse de la durabilité´ dans le cadre du PAC “Zone côtière algéroise” (Algérie). Rapport de la première étape. 36 pp.

Mac Arthur, R.H., Wilson, E.O., 1967. The Theory of Island Biogeography. Princeton University Press: Princeton.

Mascaró, O., Alcoverro, T., Dencheva, K., Díez, I., Gorostiaga, J.M. et al., 2013. Exploring the robustness of macrophyte-based classification methods to assess the ecological status of coastal and transitional ecosystems under the Water Framework Directive. Hydrobiologia, 704, 279-291.

May, R.M., 1977. Thresholds and breakpoints in ecosystems with a multiplicity of states. Nature, 267, 471-477.

Mc Glathery, K.J., Sundbäck, K., Anderson, I.C., 2004. The importance of primary producers for benthic N and P cycling. In: The influence of primary producers on estuarine nutrient cycling. Nielsen, S.L., Banta, G.M., Pedersen, M.F. (Eds). Kluwer Academic publishers, Dordrecht, 231-261 pp.

MED-GIG, 2013. JRC Scientific and Technical Reports. Water Framework Directive intercalibration technical report, Second phase (2008-2011). JRC European Commission, IES Institute for Environmental and Sustainability.

Murray, S., Littler, M.M., 1978. Patterns of algal succession in a perturbated marine intertidal community. Journal of Phycology, 14, 506-512.

O'Connor, N.E., 2013. Impacts of sewage outfalls on rocky shores: incorporating scale, biotic assemblage structure and variability into monitoring tools. Ecological Indicators, 29, 501-509.

Odum, E.P., 1985. Trends expected in stressed ecosystems. BioScience, 35 (7), 419-422.

Orfanidis, S., Reizopoulou, S., Basset, A., 2008. Transitional states in transitional waters. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 18, S1-S3.

Orfanidis, S., Dencheva, K., Nakou, K., Tsioli, S., Papathanasiou, V. et al., 2014. Benthic macrophyte metrics as bioindicators of water quality: towards overcoming typological boundaries and methodological tradition in Mediterranean and Black Seas. Hydrobiologia, 740, 61-78.

Orfanidis, S., Panayotidis, P., Stamatis, N., 2001. Ecological evaluation of transitional and coastal waters: a marine benthic macrophytes-based model. Mediterranean Marine Science, 2 (2), 45-66.

Orfanidis, S., Panayotidis, P., Stamatis, N., 2003. An insight to the ecological evaluation index (EEI). Ecological Indicators, 3 (1), 27-33.

Orfanidis, S., Panayotidis, P., Ugland, K., 2011. Ecological Evaluation Index continuous formula (EEI-c) application: a step forward for functional groups, the formula and reference condition values. Mediterranean Marine Science, 12 (1), 199-232.

Orlando-Bonaca, M., Lipej, L., Orfanidis, S., 2008. Benthic macrophytes as a tool for delineating, monitoring and assessing ecological status: The case of Slovenian coastal waters. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 56, 666-676.

PAC, 2005. Protection des sites sensibles naturels marins du secteur Cap Djinet au Mont Chenoua. Impact des activités anthropiques. Ministère de l’Aménagement du Territoire et de l’Environnement, 88 pp.

Panayotidis, P., Montesanto, B., Orfanidis, S., 2004. Use of low-budget monitoring of macroalgae to implement the European Water Framework Directive. Journal of Applied Phycology, 16 (1), 49-59.

Patrício, J., Neto, J.M., Teixeira, H., Marques, J.C., 2007. Opportunistic macroalgae metrics for transitional waters. Testing tools to assess ecological quality status in Portugal. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 54, 1887-1896.

Peres, J.M., Picard, J., 1964. Nouveau manuel de bionomie benthique de la Mer Méditerranée. Recueil des Travaux de la Station Marine d’Endoume, 31 (47), 3-137.

Piazzi, L., Ceccherelli, G., Cinelli, F., 2001. Threat to macroalgal diversity: effects of the introduced green alga Caulerpa racemosa in the Mediterranean. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 210, 161-165.

Pinedo, S., García, M., Satta, M.P., de Torres, M., Ballesteros, E., 2007. Rocky-Shore communities as indicators of water quality: a case study in Northwestern Mediterranean. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 55, 126-135.

Regier, H.A., Cowell, E.B., 1972. Applications of ecosystem theory, succession, diversity, stability, stress and conservation. Biological Conservation, 4, 83-88.

Rombouts, I., Beaugrand, G., Artigas, L.F., Dauvin, J.C., Gevaert, F. et al., 2013. Evaluating marine ecosystem health: case studies of indicators using direct observations and modelling methods. Ecological Indicators, 24, 353-365.

Scheffer, M., Carpenter, S., Foley, J.A., Folke, C., Walker, B., 2001. Catastrophic shifts in ecosystems. Nature, 413, 591-596.

Schramm, W., 1999. Factors influencing seaweed responses to eutrophication: some results from EU-project EUMAC. Journal of Applied Phycology, 11, 69-78.

Soltan, D., Verlaque, M., Boudouresque, C.F., Francour, P., 2001. Changes in macroalgal communities in the vicinity of a Mediterranean sewage outfall after the setting up of a treatment plant. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 42, 59-70.

Soualili, D., Dubois, P., Gosselin, P., Pernet, P., Guillou, M., 2008. Assessment of seawater pollution by heavy metals in the neighborhood of Algiers: use of the sea urchin, Paracentrotus lividus, as a bioindicator. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 65, 132-139.

Sousa, W.P., 1980. The responses of a community to disturbance: the importance of successional age and species’ life histories. Oecologia, 45, 72-81.

Steneck, R.S., Watling, L., 1982. Feeding capabilities and limitation of herbivorous molluscs: a functional group approach. Marine Biology, 68, 299-319.

Taleb, M.Z., Benghali, S., Kaddour, A., Boutiba, Z., 2007. Monitoring the biological effects of pollution on the Algerian west coast using mussels Mytilus galloprovincialis. Oceanologia, 49 (4), 543-564.

Taleb, Z.M., Benali, I., Gherras, H., Ykhlef-Allal, A., Bouiadjra, B.B. et al., 2009. Biomonitoring of environmental pollution on the Algerian west coast using caged mussels Mytilus galloprovincialis. Oceanologia, 51 (1), 63-84.

Thibaut, T., Pinedo, S., Torras, X., Ballesteros, E., 2005. Long-term decline of the populations of Fucales (Cystoseira spp. and Sargassum spp.) in the Alberes coast (France, North-western Mediterranean). Marine Pollution Bulletin, 50, 1472-1489.

Verlaque, M., 1976. Le peuplement algal au voisinage de la centrale thermique de Martiques-Ponteau (Golfe de Fos, France): l'indice de diversité. Rapport. P.V. Exploration Scientifique de la mer Mediterranean, 24 (4), 189-191.

Verlaque, M., Fritayre, P., 1994. Incidence de l'algue introduite Caulerpa taxifolia sur le phytobenthos de Méditerranée occidentale. 2 Les peuplements d'algues photophiles de l'infralittoral. 349-353pp. In: First international Workshop on Caulerpa taxifolia. Boudouresque, C.F., Meinesz, A., Gravez, (Eds). GIS Posidonie Publishers, Marseille.

Warwick, RM, Clarke, KR., 1993. Comparing the severity of disturbance: a meta-analysis of marine macrobenthic community data. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 92, 221-231.


  • There are currently no refbacks.