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Special issue

Special issue

A special issue in the journal "Hydrobiologia" appeared in March 2013, entitled "Water Bodies in Europe - integrative systems to assess ecological status and recovery". It summarises the results of the EU-funded project WISER (--> link), which was coordinated by Daniel Hering and Christian Feld from the Department of Aquatic Ecology. The special issue includes 31 peer-reviewed papers, addressing the assessment and restoration of lakes, coastal and transitional waters, and rivers in Europe. For lakes and coastal/transitional waters individual papers address new assessment systems using phytoplankton, macrophytes, benthic invertebrates and fish. For all ecosystem types the effects of restoration measures are addressed. The results are based on the analysis of a huge data source, covering different organism groups and ecosystem types in almost all European ecoregions. A special focus is on uncertainty in bioassessment methods.

Weblink Hydrobiologia

Combined approaches to set reference conditions are more useful than single ones

(Original title: The importance of setting targets and reference conditions in assessing marine ecosystem quality; by Angel Borja, Daniel M. Dauer and Antoine Grémare 2011, Ecological Indicators, DOI 10.1016/j.ecolind.2011.06.018)

For a decade, the development of indices and tools to assess and monitor the ecological status of the marine environment is subject to numerous research and monitoring activities throughout Europe. Their comparison and the evaluation of deficiencies with respect to the quality targets have often been debated, but little attention has been drawn to the methods used for setting the ground for assessment, i.e. the reference conditions. This step is crucial for sound assessment, as it is the fundamental requirement for the application of the reference condition approach inherent to the EU Water Framework Directive.

Borja and co-authors, therefore, reviewed the approaches available in the literature on setting both real reference conditions, for instance by using pristine areas, hindcasting, modelling or expertise and quality targets, i.e. past and present baseline scenarios and trends. The authors then scored the different approaches of setting reference conditions and tested them using a reference multivariate index: the AMBI (= AZTI’s Marine Biotic Index). Data from 29 transitional and coastal reference waters in 14 countries of Europe and North America were used to study the AMBI’s response to human pressures. The results showed that cases where the AMBI failed to detect human stress can be linked to the use of inappropriate methods to define and set the reference conditions. Borja and co-authors concluded that based on their analysis, it seems that using a combination of methods in setting reference conditions, is more adequate in obtaining final quality assessments related to the pressures than one method alone.

Zooplankton is crucial! Why its omission in WFD lake monitoring is unwise

(Original title: Zooplankton as indicators in lakes: a scientific-based plea for including zooplankton in the ecological quality assessment of lakes according to the European Water Framework Directive (WFD); by Erik Jeppesen et al. 2011, Hydrobiologia, DOI 10.1007/s10750-011-0831-0)

As a matter of surprise to lake ecologists all over Europe, zooplankton is not considered a biological quality element in the European Water Framework Directive. Being a key player in lake food webs, however, zooplankton is ecologically meaningful and has been used for bio-indication in routine monitoring of lakes for many decades. Now, after being omitted by the Directive, zooplankton has been withdrawn from many monitoring programmes. This also imposes unprecedented implications on the continuity of long-term monitoring subjected, for instance, to climate change research.

In their review, Erik Jeppesen and co-authors highlight the role of zooplankton in lake monitoring. By comparing monitoring data from Denmark, Estonia and the UK, the authors show that zooplankton constitutes a reliable and inexpensive indicator group capable of assessing the trophic status of lakes. Its replacement by other organism groups, such as fish or phytoplankton, is impractical, if not inefficient. The scientists also point at the invaluable attribute of zooplankton, to indicate lake management and restoration success. Accordingly, Jeppesen et al. strongly recommend correcting its omission, and instead include zooplankton as a central biological quality element in lake assessment and monitoring programmes. As a first crucial step, this requires to develop novel assessment tools similar to those already created for the other organisms.


Publications with WISER acknowledgements

Angeler, D.G., Drakare, S. & Johnson, R.K. (2011) Revealing the organization of complex adaptive systems through multivariate time series modeling. Ecology and Society, 16 (3), 5. [online]

Atkins, J.P., Burdon, D., Elliott, M. & Gregory, A.J. (2011) Management of the marine environment: Integrating ecosystem services and societal benefits with the DPSIR framework in a systems approach. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 62, 215-226.

Barbone, E., Rosati, I., Reizopoulou, S. & Basset, A. (2012) Linking classification boundaries to sources of natural variability in transitional waters: A case study of benthic macroinvertebrates. Ecological Indicators, 12, 105-122.

Basset, A. 2010. Aquatic science and the water framework directive: a still open challenge towards ecogovernance of aquatic ecosystems. Aquatic Conservation. Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 20, 245–249.( DOI: 10.1002/aqc.1117

Basset, A., Barbone, E., Borja, A., Brucet, S., Pinna, M., Quintana, X.D., Reizopoulou, S., Rosati, I. & Simboura, N., (2012) A benthic macroinvertebrate size spectra index for implementing the Water Framework Directive in coastal lagoons in Mediterranean and Black Sea ecoregions. Ecological Indicators, 12, 72-83.

Beklioglu, M., Meerfhoff, M. & Jeppesen, E. (2010) Eutrophication and Restoration of Shallow Lakes from a cold Temperate to a warm Mediterranean and a (Sub)Tropical climate. In Ansari, A.A., Singh Gill, S., Lanza, G.R. & Rast, W. (Editors) (in press). Eutrophication: Causes, Consequences and Control. Springer.

Bennett, S., Roca, G., Romero, J. & Alcoverro, T. (2011) Ecological status of seagrass ecosystems: An uncertainty analysis of the meadow classification based on the Posidonia oceanica multivariate index (POMI). Marine Pollution Bulletin, 62, 1616-1621.

Bennion, H., Carvalho, L., Sayer, C., Simpson, G. & Wischnewski, J. (2011) Identifying from recent sediment records the effects of nutrients and climate on diatom dynamics in Loch Leven. Freshwater Biology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2427.2011.02651.x.

Borja, A. & Rodríguez, J.G. (2010) Problems associated with the ‘one-out, all-out’ principle, when using multiple ecosystem components in assessing the ecological status of marine waters. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 60 (8), 1143–1146.

Borja, A., Barbone, E., Basset, A., Borgersen, G., Brkljacic, M., Elliott, M., Garmendia, J.M., Marques, J.M., Mazik, K., Muxika, I., Neto, J.M., Norling, K., Rodríguez, J.G., Rosati, I., Rygg, B., Teixeira, H. & Trayanova, A. (2011) Response of single benthic metrics and multimetric methods to anthropogenic pressure gradients, in five distinct European coastal and transitional ecosystems. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 62, 499-513.

Borja, A., Dauer, D.M. & Grémare, A. (2012) The importance of setting targets and reference conditions in assessing marine ecosystems quality. Ecological Indicators, 12 (1), 1-7.

Borja, A., Dauer, D.M., Elliott, M. & Simenstad, C. (2010) Medium and long-term recovery of estuarine and coastal ecosystems: patterns, rates and restoration effectiveness. Estuaries and Coasts, 33, 1249–1260.

Buchaca, T., Skov, T., Amsinck, S., Gonçalves, V., Azevedo, J.M.N. & Jeppesen, E. (2011) Rapid ecological shift following piscivorous fish introduction to increasingly eutrophic Lake Furnas (Azores Archipelago, Portugal): a paleoecological approach.- Ecosystems (in press).

Carstensen, J. (2010) Censored data regression: Statistical methods for analyzing Secchi transparency in shallow systems. Limnology and Oceanography Methods, 8, 376–385.

Carstensen, J., Dahl, K., Henriksen, P., Hjorth, M., Josefson, A. & Krause-Jensen, D. (In press) Coastal monitoring programs Ch. 7.12. In: Wolanski, E. & McLusky, D. (Eds) Treatise on Estuarine and Coastal Science. Elsevier.

Carstensen, J., Sánchez-Camacho, M., Duarte, C.M., Krause-Jensen, D. & Marbà, M (in press) Connecting the dots: downscaling responses of coastal ecosystems to changing nutrients concentrations. Environmental Science and Technology.

Carvalho, L., Ferguson, C., Gunn, I.D.M., Bennion, H., Spears, B.M. & May, L. (Accepted) Water quality responses to enrichment, restoration and climate change. Hydrobiologia.

Couto, T., Patrício, J., Neto, J.M., Ceia, F.R., Franco, J. & Marques, J.C. (2010) The influence of mesh size in environmental quality assessment of estuarine macrobenthic communities. Ecological Indicators, 10 (6), 1162–1173.

Davidson, T.A., Bennion, H., Sayer, C.D., Jeppesen, E., Clarke, G.H., Morley, D., Odgaard, B., Rasmusen P., Rawcliffe, R., Salgado, J. & Amsinck, S.L. (in press) The role of cladocerans in tracking long-term change in shallow lake ecosystem structure and function. Hydrobiologia.

Díez, I., Bustamante, M., Santolaria, A., Tajadura, J., Muguerza, N., Borja, A., Muxika, J., Saiz-Salinas, J.l. & Gorostiaga, J.M. (2012) Development of a tool for assessing the ecological quality status in intertidal coastal rocky assemblages, within the Atlantic Iberian coasts. Ecological Indicators, 12 (1), 58-71.

Dong, X., Bennion, H., Maberly, S. Sayer, C.D., Simpson, G.L. & Battarbee, R.W. (in press) Nutrients provide a stronger control than climate on inter-annual diatom dynamics in Esthwaite Water: evidence from monitoring and palaeolimnological records over the past 60 years. Freshwater Biology.

Egemose, S., de Vicente, I., Reitzel, K., Flindt, M.R., Andersen, F.Ø., Lauridsen, T.L., Søndergaard, M., Jeppesen, E. & Jensen, H.S. (2011) Changes in cycling of P, N, Si, and DOC upon aluminum treatment of Lake Nordborg, Denmark. Can. J. Fish Res. (in press)

Emmrich, M., Brucet, S., Ritterbusch, D. & Mehner, T. (in press) Size spectra of lake fish assemblages: responses along gradients of general environmental factors and intensity of lake-use. Freshwater Biology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2427.2011.02658.x.

Feld, C.K., Birk, S., Bradley, D.C., Hering, D., Kail, J., Marzin, A., Melcher, A., Nemitz, D., Petersen, M.L., Pletterbauer, F., Pont, D., Verdonschot, P.F.M. & Friberg, N. (2011) From natural to degraded rivers and back again: a test of restoration ecology theory and practice. Advances in Ecological Research, 44, 119-209.

Gamito, S., Patrício, J., Neto, J.M., Marques, J.C. & Teixeira, H. (in press) The importance of habitat-type for defining the reference conditions and the ecological quality status based on benthic invertebrates: The Ria Formosa coastal lagoon (Southern Portugal) case study. Ecological Indicators. DOI:10.1016/j.ecolind.2011.08.004

Gamito, S., Patrício, J., Neto, J.M., Teixeira, H., Marques, J.C. (in press) Feeding diversity index as complementary information in the assessment of ecological quality status. Ecological Indicators. DOI:10.1016/j.ecolind.2011.08.003

Genkai-Kato, M., Liboriussen, L., Vadeboncoeur, Y. & Jeppesen, E. (in press) Conditionally accepted Benthicpelagic coupling and regime shifts in shallow lakes, and the consequences for whole-lake primary production. Ecology.

Hering, D., Borja, A., Carstensen, J., Carvalho, L., Elliott, M., Feld, C.K., Heiskanen, A.-S., Johnson, R.K., Moe, J., Pont, D., Lyche Solheim, A. & van de Bund, W. (2010) The European Water Framework Directive at the age of 10: A critical review of the achievements with recommendations for the future. Science of the Total Environment, 408, 4007-4019.

Iglesias, C., Mazzeo, N., Meerhoff, M., Lacerot, G., Clemente, J.M., Scasso, F., Kruk, C., Goyenola, G., Garcıa-Alonso, J., Amsinck, S.L., Paggi, J.C., de Paggi, S.J. & Jeppesen, E. (2011) High predation is of key importance for dominance of smallbodied zooplankton in warm shallow lakes: evidence from lakes, fish exclosures and surface sediments. Hydrobiologia, 667, 133–147.

Jeppesen, E., Kronvang, B., Meerhoff, M., Søndergaard, M., Hansen, K.M., Andersen, H.E., Lauridsen, T.L.,Beklioglu, M., Özen, A. & Olesen, J.E. (2009) Climate change effects on runoff, catchment phosphorus loading and lake ecological state, and potential adaptations. Journal of Environmental Quality, 38, 1931-1940.

Jeppesen, E., Kronvang, B., Olesen, J., Audet, J., Søndergaard, M., Hoffmann, C., Andersen, H., Lauridsen, T., Liboriussen, L., Larsen, S., Beklioglu, M., Meerhoff, M., Özen, A., Özkan, K. (2011) Climate change effect on nitrogen loading from catchment in Europe: implications for nitrogen retention and ecological state of lakes and adaptations- Hydrobiologia, 663, 1-21.

Jeppesen, E., Meerhoff, M., Holmgren, K., Gonzalez-Bergonzoni, I., Teixeira-de Mello, F., Declerck, S.A.J., De Meester, L., Søndergaard, M., Lauridsen, T.L., Bjerring, R., Maria Conde-Porcuna, J., Mazzeo, N., Iglesias, C., Reizenstein, M., Malmquist, H.J., Liu, Z., Balayla, D. & Lazzaro, X. (2010) Impacts of climate warming on lake fish community structure and potential effects on ecosystem function. Hydrobiologia, 646, 73-90.

Jeppesen, E., Nöges, P., Davidson, T.A., Haberman, J., Nöges, T., Blank, K., Lauridsen, T.L., Sodergaard, M., Sayer, C., Laugaste, R., Johansson, L.S., Bjerring, R. & Amsinck, S.L. (2011) Zooplankton as indicators in lakes: a scientific-based plea for including zooplankton in the ecological quality assessment of lakes according to the European Water Framework Directive (WFD). Hydrobiologia. DOI 10.1007/s10750-011-0831-0.

Johnson, R.K. & Angeler, D.G. (2010) Tracing recovery under changing climate: response of phytoplankton and invertebrate assemblages to decreased acidification. Journal of North American Benthological Society, in press.

Jürgenson, I., Carstensen, J., Ikauniece, A. & Kalveka, B. (in press) Long-term changes and controlling factors of phytoplankton community in the Gulf of Riga (Baltic Sea). Estuar.Coast.

Kosten, S., Jeppesen, E., Huszar, V., Mazzeo, N., van Nes, E., Peeters, E. & Scheffer, M. (in press.) Ambiguous climate impacts on the stability of alternative states in shallow lakes – Freshwater Biology.

Krause-Jensen, D., Carstensen, J., Nielsen, S.L., Dalsgaard, T., Christensen, P.B., Fossing, H. & Rasmussen, M.B. (2011) Sea bottom characteristics affect depth limits of eelgrass (Zostera marina L.). MEPS, 425, 91–102. doi: 10.3354/meps09026

Krause-Jensen, D., Markager, S. & Dalsgaard, T. (in press) Benthic and pelagic primary production in different nutrient regimes. Estuaries and coasts.

Lund, S.S, Landkildehus, F., Søndergaard, M., Lauridsen, T.L., Egemose, S., Jensen, H.S., Andersen, F.Ø., Johannson, L.S., Ventura, M. & Jeppesen, E. (2010) Fast changes in community structure, abundance and habitat distribution of fish in a Danish lake following restoration by aluminium treatment. Freshwater Biology, 55, 1036-1049.

May, L. & Spears, B.M. (Accepted) Loch Leven: 40 years of scientific research. Understanding the links between pollution, climate change and ecological response. Developments in Hydrobiology.

May, L. & Spears, B.M. (Accepted) Managing ecosystem services at Loch Leven, Scotland, UK: actions, impacts and unintended consequences. Hydrobiologia.

May, L., Defew, L., Bennion, H. & Spears, B.M. (Accepted) Historical changes in the external loading to Loch Leven in relation to anthropogenic activity in the catchment. Hydrobiologia.

Mooij, W.M., Trolle, D., Jeppesen, E., Arhonditsis, G., Belolipetsky, P.V., Chitamwebwa, D.B.R., Degermendzholz, A.G., DeAngelis, D.L., De Senerpont Domis, L.N., Downing, A.S., Elliott, A., Fragoso, C.R., Gaedke, U., Genova, S.N., Gulati, R.D., Håkanson, L., Hamilton, D.P., Hipsey, M.R., ‘t Hoen, J., Hülsmann, S., Los, F.J.H., Makler-Pick, V., Petzoldt, T., Prokopkin, I.G., Rinke, K., Schep, S.A., Tominaga, K., Van Dam, A.A., Van Nes, E.H., Wells, S.A. & Janse, J.H. (2010) Challenges and opportunities for integrating lake ecosystem modelling approaches. Aquatic Ecology, 44, 633-667.

Neto, J.M., Gaspar, R., Pereira, L., Marques, J.C. (in press) Marine Macroalgae Assessment Tool (MarMAT) for intertidal rocky shores. Quality assessment under the scope of European Water Framework Directive. Ecological Indicators. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2011.09.006

Neto, J.M., Teixeira, H., Patrício, J., Baeta, A., Veríssimo, H., Pinto, R. & Marques, J.C. (2010) The Response of Estuarine Macrobenthic Communities to Natural- and Human-Induced Changes: Dynamics and Ecological Quality. Estuaries and Coasts, 33, 1327–1339.

Nõges, P., Mischke, U., Laugaste, R. & Solimini A.G. (2010) Analysis of changes over 44 years in the phytoplankton of Lake Võrtsjärv (Estonia): the effect of nutrients, climate and the investigator on phytoplankton-based water quality indices. Hydrobiologia, 646, 33–48.

Nõges, P., Nõges, T., Ghiani, M., Paracchini, B., Pinto Grande, J. & Sena, F. (2011) Morphometry and trophic state modify the thermal response of lakes to meteorological forcing. Hydrobiologia, 667, 241-254.

Nõges, P., Nõges, T., Ghiani, M., Sena, F., Fresner, R., Friedl, M. & Mildner, J. (2011) Increased nutrient loading and rapid changes in phytoplankton expected with climate change in stratified South European lakes: sensitivity of lakes with different trophic state and catchment properties. Hydrobiologia, 667, 255-270.

Nõges, P., Poikane, S., Kõiv, T. & Nõges, T. (2010) Effect of chlorophyll sampling design on water quality assessment in thermally stratified lakes. Hydrobiologia, 649, 157–170.

Nõges, T. (2009) Relationships between lake morphometry, geographic location and water quality parameters of European lakes. Hydrobiologia, 633, 33–43.

Piscia, R., Volta, P., Boggero, A. & Manca, M. (2011) The invasion of Lake Orta (Italy) by the red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii (Girard 1852): a new threat to an unstable environment. Aquatic Invasions, 6 (1). doi: 10.3391/

Sayer, C.D., Bennion, H., Davidson, T.A., Burgess, A., Hoare, D. & Horsey, X. (in revision) The application of palaeolimnology to practical lake management and conservation: examples from UK lakes. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems.

Søndergaard, M., Johansson, L.S., Lauridsen, T. L., Jørgensen, T. B., Liboriussen, L. & Jeppesen, E. (2010) Submerged macrophytes as indicators of the ecological quality of lakes. Freshwater Biology, 55, 893-908.

Sørensen, T., Mulderij, G., Søndergaard, M., Lauridsen, T.L., Liboriussen, L., Brucet, S. & Jeppesen, E. (2011) Winter ecology of shallow lakes: strongest effect of fish on water clarity at high nutrient levels. Hydrobiologia, 664, 147–162.

Spears, B.M., Carvalho, L., Perkins, R. & Paterson, D.M. (Accepted) Long-term variation and regulation of internal loading in Loch Leven. Hydrobiologia.

Steckbauer, A., Duarte, C.M., Carstensen, J., Vaquer-Sunyer, R. & Conley, D.J. (2011) Ecosystem impacts of hypoxia: thresholds of hypoxia and pathways to recovery. Ecol.Res., Letters 6 025003, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/6/2/025003

Teixeira, H., Weisberg, S.B., Borja, A., Ranasinghe, J.A., Cadien, D.B., Velarde, R.G., Lovell, L.L., Pasko, D., Phillips, C.A., Montagne, D.E., Ritter, K.J., Salas, F. & Marques, J.C. (2012) Calibration and Validation of the AZTI's Marine Biotic Index (AMBI) for Southern California Marine Bays. Ecological Indicators, 12, 84-95.

Tovar-Sánchez, A., Serón, J., Marbà, N., Arrieta, J.M. & Duarte, C.M. (2010) Long-term records of trace metal content of western Mediterranean seagrass (Posidonia oceanica) meadows: Natural and anthropogenic contributions, J. Geophys. Res., 115, doi:10.1029/2009JG001076.

Trochine, C., Guerrieri, M., Liboriussen, L., Meerhoff, M., Lauridsen, T.L., Søndergaard, M. & Jeppesen, E. (2011) Filamentous green algae inhibit phytoplankton and create clear water conditions – particularly when enriched shallow lakes get warmer. Freshwater Biology, 56, 541-553.

Trolle, D., Hamilton, D.P., Pilditch, C., Duggan, I.C. & Jeppesen, E. (2011) Predicting the effects of climate change on trophic status of three New Zealand lakes – implications for lake restoration. Environmental Modelling & Software, 26, 354-370.

Vaquer-Sunyer, R. & Duarte, C.M. (2010) Sulfide exposure accelerates hypoxia-driven mortality. Limnology and Oceanography, 55, 1075-1082.

Veríssimo, H., Neto, J.M., Teixeira, H., Franco, J.N., Fath, B.D., Marques, J.C., Patrício, J. (in press) Ability of benthic indicators to assess ecological quality in estuaries following management. Ecological Indicators. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2011.06.014

Volta, P., Oggioni, A., Bettinetti, R. & Jeppesen, E. (2011) Assessing lake typologies and indicator fish species for Italian natural lakes using past fish richness and assemblages. Hydrobiologia, 671, 227–240.

Winfield, I.J., Adams, C.E., Gardiner, R., Kirika, A., Montgomerry, J., Spears, B.M., Stewart, D., Thorpe, J.E. & Wilson, W. (Accepted) Changes in the fish community of Loch Leven: untangling anthropogenic pressures. Hydrobiologia.

WISER: "Water bodies in Europe: Integrative Systems to assess Ecological status and Recovery"
Online: [date: 2017/02/20]
© 2017 WISER (Contract No. 226273). All rights reserved.