, Volume 566, Issue 1, pp 3–29 | Cite as

The STAR project: context, objectives and approaches

  • Mike Furse
  • Daniel Hering
  • Otto Moog
  • Piet Verdonschot
  • Richard K. Johnson
  • Karel Brabec
  • Kostas Gritzalis
  • Andrea Buffagni
  • Paulo Pinto
  • Nikolai Friberg
  • John Murray-Bligh
  • Jiri Kokes
  • Renate Alber
  • Philippe Usseglio-Polatera
  • Peter Haase
  • Roger Sweeting
  • Barbara Bis
  • Krzysztof Szoszkiewicz
  • Hanna Soszka
  • Gunta Springe
  • Ferdinand Sporka
  • Il’ja Krno


STAR is a European Commission Framework V project (EVK1-CT-2001-00089). The project aim is to provide practical advice and solutions with regard to many of the issues associated with the Water Framework Directive. This paper provides a context for the STAR research programme through a review of the requirements of the directive and the Common Implementation Strategy responsible for guiding its implementation. The scientific and strategic objectives of STAR are set out in the form of a series of research questions and the reader is referred to the papers in this volume that address those objectives, which include: (a) Which methods or biological quality elements are best able to indicate certain stressors? (b) Which method can be used on which scale? (c) Which method is suited for early and late warnings? (d) How are different assessment methods affected by errors and uncertainty? (e) How can data from different assessment methods be intercalibrated? (f) How can the cost-effectiveness of field and laboratory protocols be optimised? (g) How can boundaries of the five classes of Ecological Status be best set? (h) What contribution can STAR make to the development of European standards? The methodological approaches adopted to meet these objectives are described. These include the selection of the 22 stream-types and 263 sites sampled in 11 countries, the sampling protocols used to sample and survey phytobenthos, macrophytes, macroinvertebrates, fish and hydromorphology, the quality control and uncertainty analyses that were applied, including training, replicate sampling and audit of performance, the development of bespoke software and the project outputs. This paper provides the detailed background information to be referred to in conjunction with most of the other papers in this volume. These papers are divided into seven sections: (1) typology, (2) organism groups, (3) macrophytes and diatoms, (4) hydromorphology, (5) tools for assessing European streams with macroinvertebrates, (6) intercalibration and comparison and (7) errors and uncertainty. The principal findings of the papers in each section and their relevance to the Water Framework Directive are synthesised in short summary papers at the beginning of each section. Additional outputs, including all sampling and laboratory protocols and project deliverables, together with a range of freely downloadable software are available from the project website at www.eu_star.at.


Water Framework Directive ecological status biological quality elements intercalibration uncertainty software 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mike Furse
    • 1
  • Daniel Hering
    • 2
  • Otto Moog
    • 3
  • Piet Verdonschot
    • 4
  • Richard K. Johnson
    • 5
  • Karel Brabec
    • 6
  • Kostas Gritzalis
    • 7
  • Andrea Buffagni
    • 8
  • Paulo Pinto
    • 9
  • Nikolai Friberg
    • 10
  • John Murray-Bligh
    • 11
  • Jiri Kokes
    • 12
  • Renate Alber
    • 13
  • Philippe Usseglio-Polatera
    • 14
  • Peter Haase
    • 15
  • Roger Sweeting
    • 16
  • Barbara Bis
    • 17
  • Krzysztof Szoszkiewicz
    • 18
  • Hanna Soszka
    • 19
  • Gunta Springe
    • 20
  • Ferdinand Sporka
    • 21
  • Il’ja Krno
    • 22
  1. 1.Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, CEH Dorset, Winfrith Technology CentreDorchesterUK
  2. 2.Institute of HydrologyUniversity of Duisburg-EssenEssenGermany
  3. 3.Institute for Hydrobiology and Aquatic Ecosystem ManagementUniversity of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences ViennaViennaAustria
  4. 4.Department of Ecology and EnvironmentAlterraWageningenThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Department of Environmental AssessmentSwedish University of Agricultural SciencesUppsalaSweden
  6. 6.Department of Zoology and EcologyMasaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic
  7. 7.Hellenic Centre for Marine ResearchInstitute of Inland WatersAnavyssosGreece
  8. 8.CNR-Water Research InstituteBrugherio (Milano)Italy
  9. 9.Centre of Applied EcologyUniversity of EvoraEvoraPortugal
  10. 10.Department of Freshwater EcologyNERI, National Environmental Research InstituteSilkeborgDenmark
  11. 11.South West Region, Manley House, Kestrel WayEnvironment AgencyExeter, DevonUK
  12. 12.Vyzkumny Ustav Vodohospodarsky T.G. MasaykaBrnoCzech Republic
  13. 13.LABBIOLaivesItaly
  14. 14.Centre of Ecotoxicology, Biodiversity and Environmental HealthUniversity of MetzMetzFrance
  15. 15.Senckenbergische Naturforschende GesellschaftBiebergemündGermany
  16. 16.Freshwater Biological AssociationCumbriaUK
  17. 17.Institute of Ecology and Nature Protection, Department of Applied EcologyUniversity of ŁodźŁodźPoland
  18. 18.Department of Ecology and Environmental ProtectionAgricultural University of August CieszkowskiPoznanPoland
  19. 19.Lake Protection LaboratoryInstytut Ochrony ŚrodowiskaWarsawPoland
  20. 20.Institute of BiologyUniversity of LatviaSalaspilsLatvia
  21. 21.Institute of Zoology, Department of HydrobiologySlovak Academy of SciencesBratislavaSlovakia
  22. 22.Faculty of Science, Department of EcologyComenius University BratislavaBratislavaSlovakia

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