A marine eutrophication impacts assessment method in LCIA coupling coastal ecosystems exposure to nitrogen and species sensitivity to hypoxia

Nuno Miguel Dias Cosme, Marja Koski, Michael Zwicky Hauschild

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearch


Characterisation modelling in Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) aims at quantifying potential impacts of anthropogenic emissions. It delivers substance-specific Characterisation Factors (CF) expressing ecosystem responses to marginal increments in emitted quantities. Nitrogen (N) emissions from e.g. agriculture and industry enrich coastal marine ecosystems. Excessive algal growth and dissolved oxygen (DO) depletion typify the resulting marine eutrophication. LCIA modelling frameworks typically encompass fate, exposure and effect in the environment. The present novel method couples relevant marine biological processes of ecosystem’s N exposure (Exposure Factor, XF) with the sensitivity of select species to hypoxia (Effect Factor, EF). The XF converts N-inputs into a sinking carbon flux from planktonic primary production and DO consumed by bacterial respiration in bottom waters, whereas EF builds on probabilistic Species Sensitivity Distribution (SSD) methodologies to quantify potential species losses from hypoxia. Results show 2 orders of magnitude global spatial differentiation on a Large Marine Ecosystems (LME) spatial resolution. Adding an N-fate model completes CFs for anthropogenic N-forms, thus producing comparative environmental sustainability indicators of human activities as applied in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of product systems.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventASLO Aquatic Sciences Meeting 2015 - Granada, Spain
Duration: 22 Feb 201527 Feb 2015


ConferenceASLO Aquatic Sciences Meeting 2015
Internet address

Bibliographical note

Oral presentation


  • 1 Participating in or organising a conference

ASLO Aquatic Sciences Meeting 2015

Nuno Miguel Dias Cosme (Participant)

22 Feb 201527 Feb 2015

Activity: Attending an eventParticipating in or organising a conference

Cite this