Hydrobiologia

, Volume 695, Issue 1, pp 109–124 | Cite as

Identification versus counting protocols as sources of uncertainty in diatom-based ecological status assessments

  • Maria Kahlert
  • Martyn Kelly
  • Raino-Lars Albert
  • Salomé F. P. Almeida
  • Tomáš Bešta
  • Saúl Blanco
  • Michel Coste
  • Luc Denys
  • Luc Ector
  • Markéta Fránková
  • Daša Hlúbiková
  • Plamen Ivanov
  • Bryan Kennedy
  • Petr Marvan
  • Adrienne Mertens
  • Juha Miettinen
  • Joanna Picinska-Fałtynowicz
  • Juliette Rosebery
  • Elisabet Tornés
  • Sirje Vilbaste
  • Andrea Vogel
ALGAE FOR MONITORING RIVERS

Abstract

In 2009, seventeen analysts participated in a pan-European diatom ring-test (intercalibration), analyzing nine samples from seven countries following the European standard EN 14407. The objective of this exercise was to agree on practical conventions on diatom identification to facilitate future intercalibration work and to assess the extent to which national differences in sample analysis (counting protocol and identification conventions) contribute to variability in EU-level comparisons of diatom-based methods. Differences in the reported taxa lists were large, but not a major source of variation in values of a common metric (the phytobenthos Intercalibration Common Metric, ICM). Therefore, every country can apply its own identification conventions for national assessments, and still be fairly confident that the ICM reflects the national classification of its streams. Part of the index variation was due to differences in counting protocols and care should be taken when handling broken valves, girdle views and small taxa. More work at both national and European level is needed to provide a harmonized way of using diatoms for ecological status assessments in the future.

Keywords

Algae Monitoring Phytobenthos Rivers Intercalibration Water Framework Directive 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank the national authorities that funded part of this study: Catalan Water Agency, Fonds National de la Recherche (FNR Luxembourg), Portuguese Water Institute, Scottish and Northern Irish Forum for Environmental Research, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. We also thank Bart Van de Vijver for constructive discussions and R. Jan Stevenson and two anonymous referees for constructive criticism on the manuscript.

Supplementary material

10750_2012_1115_MOESM1_ESM.doc (32 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 33 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Kahlert
    • 1
  • Martyn Kelly
    • 2
  • Raino-Lars Albert
    • 3
  • Salomé F. P. Almeida
    • 4
  • Tomáš Bešta
    • 5
  • Saúl Blanco
    • 6
  • Michel Coste
    • 7
  • Luc Denys
    • 8
  • Luc Ector
    • 9
  • Markéta Fránková
    • 10
  • Daša Hlúbiková
    • 9
  • Plamen Ivanov
    • 11
  • Bryan Kennedy
    • 12
  • Petr Marvan
    • 14
  • Adrienne Mertens
    • 15
  • Juha Miettinen
    • 3
  • Joanna Picinska-Fałtynowicz
    • 13
  • Juliette Rosebery
    • 7
  • Elisabet Tornés
    • 16
  • Sirje Vilbaste
    • 17
  • Andrea Vogel
    • 18
  1. 1.Department of Aquatic Sciences and AssessmentSwedish University of Agricultural SciencesUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.Bowburn ConsultancyBowburn, DurhamUK
  3. 3.Ecomonitor Ltd.JoensuuFinland
  4. 4.Department of Biology, GeoBioSciences, GeoTechnologies and GeoEngineering (GeoBioTec) Research UnitUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal
  5. 5.Department of Botany, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of South BohemiaČeské BudějoviceCzech Republic
  6. 6.Department of Biodiversity and Environmental ManagementUniversity of LeónLeónSpain
  7. 7.Water Quality and Wastewater DepartmentIrsteaCestas CedexFrance
  8. 8.Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO)BrusselsBelgium
  9. 9.Department of Environment and Agro-Biotechnologies (EVA)Public Research Centre—Gabriel LippmannBelvauxLuxembourg
  10. 10.Department of Vegetation Ecology, Institute of BotanyAV ČRBrnoCzech Republic
  11. 11.Faculty of BiologySofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”SofiaBulgaria
  12. 12.EPAMayoIreland
  13. 13.Department of EcologyInstitute of Meteorology and Water Management, National Research Institute, Wrocław BranchWrocławPoland
  14. 14.Limni s.r.o.BrnoCzech Republic
  15. 15.Grontmij Nederland B.V., Division Water, Team EcologyAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  16. 16.Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA)GironaSpain
  17. 17.Center for LimnologyEstonian University of Life SciencesTartuEstonia
  18. 18.Seefeld-HechendorfGermany

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