Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 96, Issue 1–3, pp 233–249 | Cite as

Multimetric Assessment of Nutrient Enrichment in Impounded Rivers Based on Benthic Macroinvertebrates

  • Julio A. CamargoEmail author
  • Alvaro Alonso
  • Marcos De La Puente


In this investigation we evaluated the performance of multiple metrics, based on benthic macroinvertebrates, to assess nutrient enrichment in impounded rivers. Field studies were conducted in the upper reaches of four impounded mountain rivers (Tormes, Riaza, Eresma and Miraflores Rivers) of Central Spain. The watersheds of these rivers are underlain by siliceous rocks. Two sampling sites, upstream and downstream from the reservoir, were established in stony riffles of each impounded river. We used a total of 34 metrics, representing five different metric groups: measures of abundance and richness, percentages of taxonomic groups, percentages of functional feeding groups, measures of dominance and diversity, and biotic indices. Evaluation of different metrics was mainly based on correlation analyses between concentrations of nutrients (NO3-N, NH4-N, PO4-P) and values of individual metrics. Deep releases from the reservoirs were the primary cause responsible for the nutrient enrichment at downstream sampling sites. Chironomidae density, Gastropoda density, % Chironomidae, % Gastropoda, % collector-gatherers and scrapers, proportion of the two most dominant taxa, and Camargo's dominance index exhibited the highest positive correlation coefficients. Conversely, Plecoptera density, Trichoptera density, EPT richness, % Plecoptera, % Trichoptera, % collector-filterers, % predators, % shredders, Simpson's and Camargo's diversity indices, and the average BMWQ score (biotic index) exhibited the highest negative correlation coefficients. Overall it is concluded that the multimetric approach may be a useful technique for the biological assessment of nutrient enrichment in fluvial ecosystems, particularlyin upper reaches of siliceous rivers.

benthic macroinvertebrates impounded rivers multimetric assessment nutrient enrichment 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julio A. Camargo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alvaro Alonso
    • 1
  • Marcos De La Puente
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Ecología, Facultad de BiologíaUniversidad de Alcalá, Alcalá de HenaresMadridSpain (author for correspondence

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