Citation Lyche-Solheim A, Feld CK, Birk S, Phillips G, Carvalho L, Morabito G, Mischke U, Willby N, Sondergaard M, Hellsten S, Kolada A, Mjelde M, Bohmer J, Miler O & Pusch MT (2013) Ecological status assessment of European lakes: A comparison of metrics for phytoplankton, macrophytes, benthic invertebrates and fish. Hydrobiologia, 704 (1), pp. 57-74. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-012-1436-y
Abstract Data on phytoplankton, macrophytes, benthic invertebrates and fish from more than 2000 lakes in 22 European countries were used to develop and test metrics for assessing the ecological status of European lakes as required by the Water Framework Directive. The strongest and most sensitive of the 11 metrics responding to eutrophication pressure were phytoplankton chlorophyll a, a taxonomic composition trophic index and a functional traits index, the macrophyte intercalibration taxonomic composition metric and a Nordic lake fish index. Intermediate response was found for a cyanobacterial bloom intensity index (Cyano), the Ellenberg macrophyte index and a multimetric index for benthic invertebrates. The latter also responded to hydromorphological pressure. The metrics provide information on primary and secondary impacts of eutrophication in the pelagic and the littoral zone of lakes. Several of these metrics were used as common metrics in the intercalibration of national assessment systems or have been incorporated directly into the national systems. New biological metrics have been developed to assess hydromorphological pressures, based on aquatic macrophyte responses to water level fluctuations, and on macroinvertebrate responses to morphological modifications of lake shorelines. These metrics thus enable the quantification of biological impacts of hydromorphological pressures in lakes.