In addition, the ZKI correlated with the BSPI separately in the Gulf of Finland and in the rest of the study area (Spearman R, p < 0.
The obtained ZKI EQR ranks correlated with the median BSPI values in the Gulf of Finland waterbodies 1 to 5 (Spearman R = -0.
At the highest BSPI values, the EQR showed results ranging from poor to good quality in our data set.
However, despite the climatic forces, the fluctuations in anthropogenic pressures and the variability from other/unknown sources, a relationship between the BSPI and the community composition relative to sensitivity groups still occurred in the study area.
Although the BSPI seems to describe satisfactorily the state of the environment within the Gulf of Finland and within the rest of the Estonian coastal sea separately, comparison of biological data between these two regions shows an apparent mismatch in the BSPI values.
Our study demonstrates that benthic invertebrate communities (in terms of EQR values) correlate with the integrated anthropogenic pressure metrics BSPI and nutrient loads in the study area.