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  • Benthos Ecosystem Quality Index (BEQI). BEQI is a biological index that is used to assess the state of the benthos of coastal and transitional waters for the Water Framework Directive. Taking into consideration the large intrinsic variability of estuarine and coastal systems and the importance of ecosystem functioning within a water body, Ysebaert & Herman (2003) advocate a multilevel scale-dependent approach for the classification of the quality elements in coastal and transitional waters. The proposed multilevel approach consists of three levels: (1) level 1 - Ecosystem level; (2) level 2 - Habitat level; (3) level 3 - Community (within habitat) level. Where suitable input and reference data is provided, the tool will calculate Ecosystem quality scores and produce a list of species that are responsible for observed deviations from the reference state.