WATER BODIES IN EUROPE

Hydrobiologia

, Volume 704, Issue 1, pp 193-211

First online:

Development of a fish-based index to assess the eutrophication status of European lakes

  • C. ArgillierAffiliated withIrstea, UR HYAX HydrobiologieOnema/Irstea Research Group Email author 
  • , S. CausséAffiliated withIrstea, UR HYAX HydrobiologieOnema/Irstea Research Group
  • , M. GevreyAffiliated withIrstea, UR HYAX HydrobiologieOnema/Irstea Research Group
  • , S. PédronAffiliated withDepartment of Marine and Littoral, Seine Normandy Water Agency, Direction of Water, Aquatic Environment and Agriculture
  • , J. De BortoliAffiliated withIrstea, UR HYAX HydrobiologieOnema/Irstea Research Group
  • , S. BrucetAffiliated withEuropean Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability
  • , M. EmmrichAffiliated withLeibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries
  • , E. JeppesenAffiliated withDepartment of Bioscience, Aarhus University
  • , T. LauridsenAffiliated withDepartment of Bioscience, Aarhus University
    • , T. MehnerAffiliated withLeibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries
    • , M. OlinAffiliated withDepartment of Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki
    • , M. RaskAffiliated withFinnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute, Evo Fisheries Research Station
    • , P. VoltaAffiliated withCNR Institute of Ecosystem Study
    • , I. J. WinfieldAffiliated withCentre for Ecology & Hydrology, Lancaster Environment Centre
    • , F. KellyAffiliated withInland Fisheries Ireland, Swords Business Campus
    • , T. KrauseAffiliated withCentre for Limnology at AEI, Estonian University of Life Sciences
    • , A. PalmAffiliated withCentre for Limnology at AEI, Estonian University of Life Sciences
    • , K. HolmgrenAffiliated withDepartment of Aquatic Resources, Institute of Freshwater Research, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

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Abstract

The use of the CEN (European Committee for Standardization) standard method for sampling fish in lakes using multi-mesh gillnets allowed the collection of fish assemblages of 445 European lakes in 12 countries. The lakes were additionally characterised by environmental drivers and eutrophication proxies. Following a site-specific approach including a validation procedure, a fish index including two abundance metrics (catch per unit effort expressed as fish number and biomass) and one functional metric of composition (abundance of omnivorous fish) was developed. Correlated with the proxy of eutrophication, this index discriminates between heavily and moderately impacted lakes. Additional analyses on a subset of data from Nordic lakes revealed a stronger correlation between the new fish index and the pressure data. Despite an uneven geographical distribution of the lakes and certain shortcomings in the environmental and pressure data, the fish index proved to be useful for ecological status assessment of lakes applying standardised protocols and thus supports the development of national lake fish assessment tools in line with the European Water Framework Directive.

Keywords

Lakes Europe Fish index Metrics Eutrophication