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Research article2003Peer reviewed

The development of a system to assess the ecological quality of streams based on macroinvertebrates - Design of the sampling programme within the AQEM project

Hering D, Buffagni A, Moog O, Sandin L, Sommerhauser M, Stubauer I, Feld C, Johnson R, Pinto P, Skoulikidis N, Verdonschot P, Zahradkova S


The EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) requires river assessment systems based on benthic invertebrates. The AQEM project is developing, at a European scale, such a methodology, based on a comparison of communities of reference streams and degraded streams. The project is focussing on three main impact types: morphological degradation, organic pollution and acidification. This paper presents the outline of the AQEM project with special emphasis on: - an overview of assessment systems with benthic invertebrates presently applied in Europe - an overview of stream typology approaches in Europe - the selection process of the stream types investigated in AQEM - the criteria used to select reference sites - the design of the sampling programme - the microhabitat-based sampling method applied in AQEM - the links and possibilities of integration between AQEM and existing assessment systems

Published in

International Review of Hydrobiology
2003, Volume: 88, number: 3-4, pages: 345-361 Publisher: WILEY-V C H VERLAG GMBH