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AZTI’s Marine Biotic Index

AMBI is a software developed by AZTI for assessing the quality of soft-bottom benthic macroinvertebrate communities. It includes a new AMBI species list, with 11,347 taxa, covering the whole ocean. Updated on June 2022. 


European legislation (i.e., Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC or Marine Strategy Framework Directive 2008/56/EC) emphasise the importance of biological indicators to assess the status of marine systems. In order to establish the ecological quality of European coasts and estuaries, Borja et al. (2000), from AZTI, developed two indices: AMBI and multivariate-AMBI (M-AMBI), which can be calculated using the AMBI software. 

These indices explore the response of soft-bottom communities to man-induced changes in water quality, integrating long-term environmental conditions. Currently AMBI and M-AMBI are used worldwide in multiple applications and officially in many countries.

AZTI. Toma de muestras en Estuario del OKA. Urdaibai. Bizkaia

What is it for?

11,347 taxa from all seas

The software, named AMBI (AZTI’s Marine Biotic Index), includes 11,347 taxa from all seas, representative of the most important soft-bottom communities, present at estuarine and coastal systems, from all European seas, North and South America, Asia, Oceania, Arctic, Antarctica, etc. This tool allows you to easily calculate AMBI and M-AMBI indices, represent your data and export results.

Marine Pollution Bulletin guidelines

You must use the guidelines published in Marine Pollution Bulletin, as well as those provided with the software (button ‘help’). This version, from June 2022, allows to assign your own ecological group to some controversial taxa.

Global environmental impact indicator for farmed salmon

Since February 2012, the Steering Committee of the Salmon Aquaculture Dialogue, promoted by WWF (World Wildlife Fund), has included the tool AMBI as one of the indicators to assess the environmental impact of farmed salmon, worldwide.