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Kirchheim unter Teck, Germany

Lyche-Solheim A.,Norwegian Institute for Water Research | Feld C.K.,University of Duisburg - Essen | Birk S.,University of Duisburg - Essen | Phillips G.,UK Environment Agency | And 15 more authors.
Hydrobiologia | Year: 2013

Data on phytoplankton, macrophytes, benthic invertebrates and fish from more than 2000 lakes in 22 European countries were used to develop and test metrics for assessing the ecological status of European lakes as required by the Water Framework Directive. The strongest and most sensitive of the 11 metrics responding to eutrophication pressure were phytoplankton chlorophyll a, a taxonomic composition trophic index and a functional traits index, the macrophyte intercalibration taxonomic composition metric and a Nordic lake fish index. Intermediate response was found for a cyanobacterial bloom intensity index (Cyano), the Ellenberg macrophyte index and a multimetric index for benthic invertebrates. The latter also responded to hydromorphological pressure. The metrics provide information on primary and secondary impacts of eutrophication in the pelagic and the littoral zone of lakes. Several of these metrics were used as common metrics in the intercalibration of national assessment systems or have been incorporated directly into the national systems. New biological metrics have been developed to assess hydromorphological pressures, based on aquatic macrophyte responses to water level fluctuations, and on macroinvertebrate responses to morphological modifications of lake shorelines. These metrics thus enable the quantification of biological impacts of hydromorphological pressures in lakes. © 2013 The Author(s). Source

Poikane S.,European Commission - Joint Research Center Ispra | Johnson R.K.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Sandin L.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Schartau A.K.,Norwegian Institute for Nature Research | And 9 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2016

Legislation in Europe has been adopted to determine and improve the ecological integrity of inland and coastal waters. Assessment is based on four biotic groups, including benthic macroinvertebrate communities. For lakes, benthic invertebrates have been recognized as one of the most difficult organism groups to use in ecological assessment, and hitherto their use in ecological assessment has been limited. In this study, we review and intercalibrate 13 benthic invertebrate-based tools across Europe. These assessment tools address different human impacts: acidification (3 methods), eutrophication (3 methods), morphological alterations (2 methods), and a combination of the last two (5 methods). For intercalibration, the methods were grouped into four intercalibration groups, according to the habitat sampled and putative pressure. Boundaries of the 'good ecological status' were compared and harmonized using direct or indirect comparison approaches. To enable indirect comparison of the methods, three common pressure indices and two common biological multimetric indices were developed for larger geographical areas. Additionally, we identified the best-performing methods based on their responsiveness to different human impacts. Based on these experiences, we provide practical recommendations for the development and harmonization of benthic invertebrate assessment methods in lakes and similar habitats. © 2015 The Authors. Source

Poikane S.,European Commission - Joint Research Center Ispra | Birk S.,University of Duisburg - Essen | Bohmer J.,Bioforum GmbH | Carvalho L.,UK Center for Ecology and Hydrology | And 16 more authors.
Ecological Indicators | Year: 2015

The Water Framework Directive is the first international legislation to require European countries to establish comparable ecological assessment schemes for their freshwaters. A key element in harmonising quality classification within and between Europe's river basins is an "Intercalibration" exercise, stipulated by the WFD, to ensure that the good status boundaries in all of the biological assessment methods correspond to similar levels of anthropogenic pressure. In this article, we provide a comprehensive overview of this international comparison, focusing on the assessment schemes developed for freshwater lakes. Out of 82 lake ecological assessment methods reported for the comparison, 62 were successfully intercalibrated and included in the EC Decision on intercalibration, with a high proportion of phytoplankton (18), macrophyte (17) and benthic fauna (13) assessment methods. All the lake assessment methods are reviewed in this article, including the results of intercalibration. Furthermore, the current gaps and way forward to reach consistent management objectives for European lakes are discussed. © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND. Source

Birk S.,University of Duisburg - Essen | Bellack E.,Niedersachsischer Landesbetrieb fur Wasserwirtschaft | Bohmer J.,Bioforum GmbH | Mischke U.,Leibniz Institute For Gewasserokologie Und Binnenfischerei | And 3 more authors.
WasserWirtschaft | Year: 2013

A key element in harmonising ecological status assessment across Europe is the intercalibration exercise stipulated by the EU Water Framework Directive. It ensures a consistent level of ambition in the protection and restoration of surface waters. A new guideline harmonised the process-steps and comparability of national classifications for the second round of intercalibration (2008 to 2011). Most German assessment methods were successfully intercalibrated. The exercise fostered international exchange on concepts and implementation of ecological status and established common quality standards across Europe. A simple comparison of the national classifications for heavily modified and artificial water bodies is envisaged. Source

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