, Volume 566, Issue 1, pp 235–246 | Cite as

Assessment of sources of uncertainty in macrophyte surveys and the consequences for river classification

  • Ryszard StaniszewskiEmail author
  • Krzysztof Szoszkiewicz
  • Janina Zbierska
  • Jacek Lesny
  • Szymon Jusik
  • Ralph T. Clarke


The application of macrophytes in freshwater monitoring is still relatively limited and studies on their intercalibration and sources of variation are required. Therefore, the aim of the study was to compare selected indices and metrics based on macrophytes and to quantify their variability. During the STAR project, several aspects influencing uncertainty in estimation of the ecological quality of river were assessed. Results showed that several metrics based on the indicative value of plant species can be used in evaluation of the ecological status of rivers. Among estimated sources of variance in metric values the inter-surveyor differences had the lowest effect and slightly stronger were the influences of temporal variation (years and seasons) and shading. The impact of habitat modification was the most important factor. Analysis showed that some of macrophyte-based metrics (notably MTR and IBMR) are of sufficient precision in terms of sampling uncertainty, that they could be useful for estimating the ecological status of rivers in accordance with the aims of the Water Framework Directive.


macrophytes Mean Trophic Rank aquatic vegetation error assessment biodiversity river classification 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Allan, J. D. 1995Stream Ecology. Structure and Function of Running WatersChapman and HallLondon, UKGoogle Scholar
  2. Boyce, M. S. 1984Restitution of r – and K – strategy selection as a model of density – dependent natural selectionAnnual Review of Ecology and Systematics15427447Google Scholar
  3. Clarke, R. T., Furse, M. T., Wright, J. F., Moss, D. 1996Derivation of a biological quality index for river sites: comparison of the observed with the expected faunaJournal of Applied Statistics23311332CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Clarke, R. T. 2000Uncertainty in estimates of river quality based on RIVPACSWright, J. F.Sutcliffe, D. W.Furse, M. T. eds. Assessing the Biological Quality of Freshwaters: RIVPACS and Similar TechniquesFreshwater Biological AssociationAmbleside3954Google Scholar
  5. Clarke, R. T., Furse, M. T., Gunn, R. J. M., Winder, J. M., Wright, J. F. 2002Sampling variation in macroinvertebrate data and implications for river quality indicesFreshwater Biology4717351751CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Clarke, R. T., 2004. STARBUGS 1.1 (STAR Bioassessment Uncertainty Guidance Software). Error/Uncertainty module software, Centre for Hydrology and Ecology in Dorset (CEH)Google Scholar
  7. Dawson, F. H., P. J. Raven & N. T. H. Holmes, 1998. Distribution of aquatic plants by morphological group for rivers in the UK. 10th EWRS Symposium on Aquatic Weeds 1998, Lisbon, 1–5Google Scholar
  8. Dawson, F. H., Szoszkiewicz, K. 1999Relationships of some ecological factors with the associations of vegetation in British riversHydrobiologia415117122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dawson, F. H., Newman, J. R., Gravelle, M. J., Rouen, K. J., Henville, P. 1999Assessment of the Trophic Status of Rivers using Macrophytes: Evaluation of the Mean Trophic Rank. R&D Technical Report E39Environment Agency of England & WalesBristol, UKGoogle Scholar
  10. Dawson, F. H., 2002. Guidance for the field assessment of macrophytes of rivers within the STAR Project.
  11. Directive, 2000/60/EC. Water Framework Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000Google Scholar
  12. Ellenberg, H., H. E. Weber, R. Dull, V. Wirth, W. Werner & D. Baulissen, 1992. Zeigerwerte von Pflanzen in Mitteleuropa. Scripta Geobotanica, Vol. 18Google Scholar
  13. Environment Agency, 1996. Methodology for the assessment of freshwater riverine macrophytes for the purposes of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive. Enviroment Agency, May 1996 Version 2.Google Scholar
  14. Haury, J., Peltre, M. -C., Muller, S., Trémolières, M., Barbe, J., Dutartre, A., Guerlesquin, M. 1996Des indices macrophytiques pour estimer la qualité des cours d’eau français: premières propositionsEcologie27233244Google Scholar
  15. Haury, J., Jaffre, M., Dutartre, A., Peltre, M. C., Barbe, J., Tremolieres, M., Guerlesquin, M., Muller, S. 1998Application of the standardized protocol “Milieu Et Vegetaux aquatiques fixes” to 12 French rivers: preliminary floristic typologyInternational Journal of Limnology34129139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Haury, J., M. -C. Peltre, M. Tremolieres, J. Barbe, G. Thiebaut, I. Berne, H. Daniel, P. Chatenet, S. Muller, A. Dutartre, C. Laplace-Treyture, A. Cazaubon & E. Lambert-Servien, 2002. A method involving macrophytes to assess water trophy and organic pollution: the Macrophyte Biological Index for Rivers (IBMR) – application to different types of rivers and pollutions. In Dutartre A. & M.-H. Montel (eds), Proc. 11th EWRS International Symposium on Aquatic Weeds, Moliets Et Maa, France, 247–250Google Scholar
  17. Holmes, N. T. H., Newman, J. R., Chadd, S., Rouen, K. J., Saint, L., Dawson, F. H. 1999Mean Trophic Rank: A users manual. R&D Technical Report E38Environment Agency of England & WalesBristol, UKGoogle Scholar
  18. Jusik, S., Zgola, T. 2004Influence of morphological transformation of littoral zone on species diversity of macrophytesZeszyty Naukowe AR w Krakowie, Inzynieria Srodowiska412311320Google Scholar
  19. Newman, J. R., F. H. Dawson, N. T. H. Holmes, S. Chadd, K. J. Rouen & L. Sharp, 1997. Mean Trophic Rank: A User`s Manual. R&D Technical Report E38. Environment Agency, Bristol, 1–130Google Scholar
  20. Schneider, S., Krumpholz, T., Melzer, A. 2000Trophäeindikation in Fliessgewässern mit Hilfe des TIM (Trophäe-Index Macrophyten) – Erprobung eines neu entwickelten Index im Inniger BachActa hydrochimica et hydrobiologica28241249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Shannon, C. E., Weaver, W. 1949The Mathematical Theory of CommunicationUniversity of Illinois PressUrbanaGoogle Scholar
  22. Siegel, S., Castellan, N. J. 1988Nonparametric Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences2McGraw-HillNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  23. Staniszewski, R. 2001Estimation of river trophy in the Kujawskie Lakeland using Mean Trophic Rank and Chemical Index of TrophyRoczniki AR Poznan 334, Botanika4165173Google Scholar
  24. StatSoft, Inc., 2004. STATISTICA (data analysis software system), version 6. www.statsoft.comGoogle Scholar
  25. Szoszkiewicz, K., Karolewicz, K., Lawniczak, A., Dawson, F. H. 2002An assessment of the MTR aquatic plant bioindication system for determining the trophic status of Polish riversPolish Journal of Environmental Studies11421427Google Scholar
  26. Wright, J. F.Sutcliffe, D. W.Furse, M. T. eds. 2000Assessing the Biological Quality of Fresh Waters: RIVPACS and Other TechniquesFreshwater Biological AssociationAmblesideGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ryszard Staniszewski
    • 1
    Email author
  • Krzysztof Szoszkiewicz
    • 1
  • Janina Zbierska
    • 1
  • Jacek Lesny
    • 2
  • Szymon Jusik
    • 1
  • Ralph T. Clarke
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Environment ProtectionAugust Cieszkowski Agricultural UniversityPoznanPoland
  2. 2.Department of AgrometeorologyAugust Cieszkowski Agricultural UniversityPoznanPoland
  3. 3.Centre for Ecology and HydrologyWinfrith Technology CentreDorchesterEngland

Personalised recommendations