, Volume 566, Issue 1, pp 433-439

First online:

Errors and uncertainty in bioassessment methods – major results and conclusions from the STAR project and their application using STARBUGS

  • Ralph T. ClarkeAffiliated withCentre for Ecology and Hydrology, Winfrith Technology Centre Email author 
  • , Daniel HeringAffiliated withDepartment of Hydrobiology, University of Duisburg-Essen

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The STAR project’s extensive replicated sampling programmes have provided the first ever quantitative comparative studies of the susceptibility of a wide range of national macroinvertebrate sampling methods and taxonomic metrics to uncertainty resulting from the effects of field sampling variability and subsequent sub-sampling and laboratory (or bank-side) procedures and protocols. We summarise six STAR project papers examining various aspects of the potential sources of uncertainty in the observed fauna and observed metric values. The use of new simulation software STARBUGS (STAR Bioassessment Uncertainty Software System) to incorporate the effects of these potential errors into quantitative assessments of the uncertainty in assigning water bodies to WFD ecological status classes is discussed.


replicate sampling variation sub-sampling macroinvertebrates multi-metric uncertainty STARBUGS simulations software audit quality assurance sample coherence