Multiple marine ecological disturbances are ecosystem health indicators. An approach is described for systematically reconstructing spatial and temporal marine disturbance regimes related to human morbidity, wildlife mortality, disease events and harmful algal blooms. The approach is based upon recovery of meta-data from a survey of published literature and consolidation of geographic information layers from pre-existing sources. The examples provided are from the HEED (Health Ecological and Economic Dimensions) project conducted in the Northwestern Atlantic Ocean. Eight general disturbance indicator categories from HEED are suggested for assessing the health of the Baltic Sea ecosystem. These disturbance indicators represent 147 distinct impact types that may be used to examine relationships among impact causes, effects and costs from disturbances observed for near coastal and open waters. The HEED prototype is compatible with the objectives of the health module of the Baltic Sea's Large Marine Ecosystem initiative and consistent with implementation of the Baltic Sea Agenda 21 program. The general disturbance research methodology may be applied to the Baltic Sea or any other multijurisdiction marine region and these methods are not restricted to marine systems.
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