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Macroinvertebrates (workpackages 4.3)


Workpackage 4.3 is dedicated to the development of indicators for hard-bottom benthic macroinvertebrate communities to assess the impact of environmental pressures on transitional and coastal waters. Habitat-specific reference conditions provide the basis to develop ecological quality assessment systems. Possible sources of uncertainty are identified and quantified to estimate the risk of misclassification. In particular, workpackage 4.3 aims:


An extensive field campaign including five transitional and coastal water stations across Europe (Varna Bay in Bulgaria, Lesina lagoon in Italy, Mondego estuary in Portugal; Basque coast in Spain and Oslofjord in Norway) generated additional data needed to develop new indicators and set reference conditions. Very often, sites on transitional waters are impacted by different pressures in parallel.

Outcome and products

A "Manuscript on the responses of existing indicators to different pressures" for transitional and coastal waters has been drafted to investigate the response of 21 benthic macroinvertebrate community measures (metrics) along different pressure gradients (D4.3-1). The metrics are largely consistent in their response to pressure gradient, except of some particular cases. Inconsistencies between indicator responses were mostly in transitional waters and highlight the shortcomings of the generic application of indicators irrespective of the specific estuarine or lagoonal environment. Yet, some metrics (e.g., ecological groups, diversity and richness measures) and multi-metric indices (e.g., BAT index, M-AMBI index, NQI index) were able to detect such general gradients in both transitional and coastal environments. The manuscript highlights the importance of survey design and good reference conditions for indicator development and application and has been submitted for publication (in revision).

WISER: "Water bodies in Europe: Integrative Systems to assess Ecological status and Recovery"
Online: [date: 2024/05/23]
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