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You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / Nutrients in transitional, coastal and marine waters / Nutrients in transitional, coastal and marine waters (SEBI 015) - Assessment published May 2010

Nutrients in transitional, coastal and marine waters (SEBI 015) - Assessment published May 2010

Indicator Assessment Created 17 Sep 2009 Published 21 May 2010 Last modified 07 Jul 2011, 02:48 PM
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Generic metadata


Biodiversity Biodiversity (Primary topic)

oxidation | orthophosphate | biodiversity | nitrogen
DPSIR: Pressure
Typology: N/A
Indicator codes
  • SEBI 015
Temporal coverage:
Geographic coverage:
Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, United Kingdom

Key policy question: What is the status of transitional, marine and coastal waters in Europe?

Key messages

In countries that reported data, 85 % of stations reported no changes in oxidised nitrogen levels in transitional, coastal and marine waters in the period 1985 - 2005 and 82 % reported no change for orthophosphate. At stations that identified changes, decreases were more common than increases.

Key assessment

Some 12 % of measuring stations reported a decreasing trend in oxidised nitrogen concentrations in 2005. Increasing trends were found at 3 % of stations whilst the majority of stations (85 %) indicate no statistically significant change.

Decreasing trends in orthophosphate concentrations were found at 11 % of stations, compared to increasing concentrations at 7 %. The majority of stations (82 %) reported no statistically significant change in orthophosphateconcentration.

Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) enrichment can result in a chain of undesirable effects, starting with excessive growth of planktonic algae, which the seabed. This accumulation may be associated with changes in species composition and altered functioning of the pelagic food web, which may lead to lower grazing prospects for copepods. The consequent increase in oxygen consumption can cause oxygen depletion, changes in community structure and death of the benthic fauna.

For the EU, the Water Framework Directive will bring in better information on the ecological status of transitional and coastal waters, although not before 2010.


Data sources

More information about this indicator

See this indicator specification for more details.

Contacts and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Katarzyna Biala


EEA Management Plan

2010 (note: EEA internal system)



European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Phone: +45 3336 7100