Hydrobiologia, Oct, 2009, Vol.632(1), p.105(18)
Byline: Ian Donohue (1), Louise A. Donohue (1), Blaithin Ni Ainin (1), Kenneth Irvine (1) Keywords: Benthic; Nutrients; Ecological classification; Water Framework Directive Abstract: Until the E.U. Water Framework Directive listed benthic invertebrates as a biotic element to be used for ecological classification of lakes, techniques for the assessment of the response of littoral invertebrates to anthropogenic pressures were extremely limited compared with those of rivers and lake profundal zones. We describe here the development of an ecological classification model based on changes of littoral invertebrate assemblages across a gradient of eutrophication, which is the most widespread anthropogenic pressure on lakes across Europe. The model comprises three derived parameters, two of which were developed from taxon-specific optima along a total phosphorus gradient calculated using canonical correspondence analysis, and the third based on invertebrate abundance. Combining the parameter metrics, we can estimate the ecological quality ratio (EQR), relative to those from paleolimnologically-confirmed reference lakes. The model was tested using independent samples collected from both hard and soft substrata and across two seasons from 45 lakes, comprising three alkalinity groups (n = 15 in each), and across gradients in water column total phosphorus concentrations. For hard substrata, EQRs were related consistently and highly significantly to water column concentrations of total phosphorus, accounting for the majority of the variance in every alkalinity group. For samples taken from soft substrata, a significant relationship was found only for high alkalinity lakes, accounting for a moderate proportion of the variability in water column total phosphorus concentrations. Our results compare highly favourably with those from other aquatic ecological assessment methods, irrespective of the faunal or floral group upon which they are based, demonstrating that littoral invertebrate assemblages can provide a statistically robust prediction of nutrient status when samples are collected from hard substrata. While the method was developed specifically to assess nutrient pressures on littoral invertebrates, many lakes are subject to multiple pressures. The development of classification models that incorporate multiple pressures presents a particularly significant challenge for the implementation of the Water Framework Directive, requiring both reliable identification of minimally-impacted reference states and incorporation of pressures that are unlikely to interact in predictable ways. Author Affiliation: (1) School of Natural Sciences, Department of Zoology, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland Article History: Registration Date: 06/07/2009 Online Date: 29/07/2009 Article note: Guest editors: P. NAuges, W. van de Bund, A. C. Cardoso, A. Solimini & A.-S. Heiskanen Assessment of the Ecological Status of European Surface Waters
Water Resource Management -- Analysis ; Water Resource Management -- Usage ; Eutrophication -- Analysis ; Eutrophication -- Usage ; Rivers -- Analysis ; Rivers -- Usage
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