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Research article2013Peer reviewedOpen access

A phytoplankton trophic index to assess the status of lakes for the Water Framework Directive

Phillips, Geoff; Lyche-Solheim, Anne; Skjelbred, Birger; Mischke, Ute; Drakare, Stina; Free, Gary; Järvinen, Marko; de Hoyos,, Caridad; Morabito, Giuseppe; Poikane, Sandra; Caravalho, Laurence

Abstract

Despite improvements in wastewater treatment systems, the impact of anthropogenic nutrient sources remains a key issue for the management of European lakes. The Water Framework Directive (WFD) provides a mechanism through which progress can be made on this issue. The Directive requires a classification of the ecological status of phytoplankton, which includes an assessment of taxonomic composition. In this paper, we present a composition metric, the plankton trophic index, that was developed in the WISER EU FP7 project and demonstrate how it has been used to compare national phytoplankton classification systems in Northern and Central Europe. The metric was derived from summer phytoplankton data summarised by genus from 1,795 lakes, covering 20 European countries. We show that it is significantly related to total phosphorus concentrations, but that it is also sensitive to alkalinity, lake size and climatic variables. Through the use of country-specific reference values for the index, we demonstrate that it is significantly related to other national phytoplankton assessment systems and illustrate for a single European (intercalibration) lake type how it was used to intercalibrate WFD boundaries from different countries.

Keywords

Phytoplankton; Eutrophication; Europe; Water Framework Directive; Trophic index; Intercalibration; Classification; Indicator taxa

Published in

Hydrobiologia
2013, Volume: 704, number: 1, pages: 75-95
Publisher: SPRINGER

    Associated SLU-program

    Lakes and watercourses
    Eutrophication

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG6 Clean water and sanitation

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Ecology
    Environmental Sciences
    Botany

    Publication identifier

    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-012-1390-8

    Permanent link to this page (URI)

    https://res.slu.se/id/publ/41245