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Invertebrates (workpackage 3.3)


The lake macroinvertebrate workpackage aims at identifying responses of benthic macroinvertebrates to hydromorphological pressures, such as morphological shoreline alterations. The analysis will be based on a combination of existing data from previous projects and monitoring activities, and on new data obtained during a field campaign. The field sampling campaign was carried out in 51 lakes in seven countries (Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden and the UK) using a standardised sampling protocol. The specific objectives of WP 3.3. are:


Altogether, 51 lakes were sampled for benthic macroinvertebrates during 2009 and 2010, covering the full range of the morphological pressure gradient to be found in lake shores.. To quantify the impact of morphological alterations on macroinvertebrate communities, samples were collected from three different shoreline types: reference/natural conditions (no alteration), soft alteration (e.g. riparian clear-cutting, recreational beaches) and hard alteration sites (e.g. retaining walls, rip-rap). Stratified sampling of available habitats at each site allows for analysis of variability among and within habitats, while the collection of additional pooled composite samples at each site aims at assessing the costs saved and the possible loss in assessment precision when compared with habitat specific samples. The physical habitat was recorded using the Lake Habitat Survey (LHS; Rowan et al. 2004, 2006).

Outcome and products

A common field sampling protocol has been developed during a workshop in April 2009 and applied for lake macroinvertebrate sampling in WISER. This sampling protocol included the evaluation of habitat specific and pooled/composite sampling methodologies for monitoring purposes.

Relevance for end-users

The outcome of WP 3.3 will provide the first available assessment principle that enables to assess the ecological effects of lake shore morphological alterations on benthic macroinvertebrates. Thereby, WP 3.3 is ought to stipulate the use of benthic invertebrates for the ecological assessment of lakes—beyond the impact of eutrophication. Researchers working in workpackage 3.3 are in close contact with Geographical Intercalibration Groups to support the intercalibration process.


Rowan JS, Duck RW, Carwardine J, Bragg OM, Black AR, Cutler MEJ. 2004. Development of a technique for Lake Habitat Survey (LHS): Phase 1. Report for SNIFFER Project (WFD40) (, Edinburgh.
Rowan JS, Carwardine J, Duck RW, Bragg OM, Black AR, Cutler MEJ, Soutar I, Boon PJ. 2006. Development of a technique for Lake Habitat Survey (LHS) with applications for the European Union Water Framework Directive. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 16: 637–657.

WISER: "Water bodies in Europe: Integrative Systems to assess Ecological status and Recovery"
Online: [date: 2017/03/27]
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