Biomonitoring of intermittent rivers and ephemeral streams in Europe: current practice and priorities to enhance ecological status assessments

Stubbington, R. ; Chadd, R. ; Cid, N. ; Csabai, Z. ; Milisa, M. ; Morais, M. ; Munne, A. ; Paril, P. ; Pesic, V. ; Tziortzis, I. ; Verdonschot, R.C.M. ; Datry, T.

Type de document
Article de revue scientifique à comité de lecture
Langue
Anglais
Affiliation de l'auteur
SCHOOL OF SCIENCES AND TECHNOLOGY NOTTINGHAM TRENT UNIVERSITY GBR ; ENVIRONMENT AGENCY OF ENGLAND SPALDING GBR ; FRESHWATER ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT RESEARCH GROUP UNIVERSITAT DE BARCELONA ESP ; UNIVERSITY OF PECS HUN ; UNIVERSITY OF ZAGREB HRV ; UNIVERSIDADE DE EVORA PRT ; CATALAN WATER AGENCY BARCELONA ESP ; MASARYK UNIVERSITY BRNO CZE ; UNIVERSITY OF MONTENEGRO SRB ; WATER DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND ENVIRONMENT NICOSIA CYP ; WAGENINGEN ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH WAGENINGEN UNIVERSITY NLD ; IRSTEA LYON UR RIVERLY FRA
Année
2018
Résumé / Abstract
Intermittent rivers and ephemeral streams (IRES) are common across Europe and dominate some Mediterranean river networks. In all climate zones, IRES support high biodiversity and provide ecosystem services. As dynamic ecosystems that transition between flowing, pool, and dry states, IRES are typically poorly represented in biomonitoring programmes implemented to characterize EU Water Framework Directive ecological status. We report the results of a survey completed by representatives from 20 European countries to identify current challenges to IRES status assessment, examples of best practice, and priorities for future research. We identify five major barriers to effective ecological status classification in IRES: 1. the exclusion of IRES from Water Framework Directive biomonitoring based on their small catchment size; 2. the lack of river typologies that distinguish between contrasting IRES; 3. difficulties in defining the 'reference conditions' that represent unimpacted dynamic ecosystems; 4. classification of IRES ecological status based on lotic communities sampled using methods developed for perennial rivers; and 5. a reliance on taxonomic characterization of local communities. Despite these challenges, we recognize examples of innovative practice that can inform modification of current biomonitoring activity to promote effective IRES status classification. Priorities for future research include reconceptualization of the reference condition approach to accommodate spatiotemporal fluctuations in community composition, and modification of indices of ecosystem health to recognize both taxon-specific sensitivities to intermittence and dispersal abilities, within a landscape context.
Source
Science of the Total Environment, vol. 618, p. 1096 - 1113

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