Ecological threshold responses in European Lakes and their applicability for the Water Framework Directive (WFD)implementation: synthesis of lakes results from the REBECCA project

Solheim, Anne Lyche; Rekolainen, Seppo; Moe, S. Jannicke; Carvalho, Laurence; Phillips, Geoff; Ptacnik, Robert; Penning, W. Ellis; Toth, Laslo G.; O'Toole, Constance; Schartau, Ann-Kristin L.; Hesthagen, Trygve. 2008 Ecological threshold responses in European Lakes and their applicability for the Water Framework Directive (WFD)implementation: synthesis of lakes results from the REBECCA project. Aquatic Ecology, 42 (2). 317-334.

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Abstract The objective of this synthesis is to present the key messages and draw the main conclusions from the work on lakes in the REBECCA project, pointing out their links to theoretical ecology and their applicability for the WFD implementation. Type-specific results were obtained from analyses of large pan-European datasets for phytoplankton, macrophytes, macroinvertebrates and fish, and indicators and relationships showing the impact of eutrophication or acidification on these biological elements were constructed. The thresholds identified in many of the response curves are well suited for setting ecological status class boundaries and can be applied in the intercalibration of classification systems. Good indicators for phytoplankton (chrysophytes, cyanobacteria) and macrophytes (isoetids and charaphytes) responses to eutrophication were identified, and the level of eutrophication pressure needed to reach the thresholds for these indicators was quantified. Several existing metrics developed for macrophytes had low comparability and need further harmonisation to be useful for intercalibration of classification systems. For macroinvertebrates, a number of metrics developed for rivers turned out to be less useful to describe lake responses to eutrophication and acidification, whereas other species based indicators were more promising. All the biological elements showed different responses in different lake types according to alkalinity and humic substances, and also partly according to depth. Better harmonisation of monitoring methods is needed to achieve better precision in the dose–response curves. Future research should include impacts of hydromorphological pressures and climate change, as well as predictions of timelags involved in responses to reduction of pressures.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Water > WA02 Quantifying processes that link water quality and quantity, biota and physical environment > WA02.3 Physico-chemical processes and effects on freshwater biot
CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Water > WA03 Developing strategic data and knowledge at a catchment scale to enable the wiser management of the water environment > WA03.3 Catchment scale modelling and assessment
CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Water
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Watt
ISSN: 1386-2588
Additional Keywords: lake phytoplankton,water framework directive, WFDAcidification, Dose–response curves, Ecological status, Eutrophication,Intercalibration, Non-linearity, Water
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 26 Nov 2009 14:56 +0 (UTC)

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