, Volume 704, Issue 1, pp 11-28

First online:

The WISER way of organising ecological data from European rivers, lakes, transitional and coastal waters

  • S. Jannicke MoeAffiliated withNorwegian Institute for Water Research Email author 
  • , Astrid Schmidt-KloiberAffiliated withDepartment Water, Atmosphere, Environment, Institute of Hydrobiology & Aquatic Ecosystem Management, University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences
  • , Bernard J. DudleyAffiliated withCentre for Ecology & Hydrology
  • , Daniel HeringAffiliated withFaculty of Biology, Aquatic Ecology, University of Duisburg-Essen

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


The implementation of the Water Framework Directive has required intense research in applied aquatic ecology in Europe, and thus created challenges for data management in international research projects. In the project Waterbodies in Europe: Integrative Systems to assess Ecological status and Recovery (WISER), biological and environmental data from rivers, lakes, transitional and coastal waters in 26 European countries were collated. More than one million records of biological observations were stored in the project’s central database, representing phytoplankton, macrophytes, macroalgae, angiosperms, phytobenthos, invertebrates and fish. The central database includes new data from the WISER field campaign in lakes and transitional/coastal waters during 2009–2010 (more than 6,000 biological samples from 58 waterbodies in 14 countries). The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the data collated within WISER, in order to facilitate future re-use of these data by other scientists. More specifically, the objectives are to (1) describe the data management in WISER, (2) describe the structure and content of the WISER central database and (3) share experiences and give recommendations for data management in large ecological research projects.


EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) Data management Databases Taxonomy Intellectual property rights (IPR) Metadata