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SoE Guidance – Biological reporting sheets. Sheet 5: Benthic invertebrates in rivers Sheet 6: Phytoplankton in lakes Sheet 7: Macrophytes in lakes. What metrics should be reported?. Why biological data?.

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soe guidance biological reporting sheets
SoE Guidance – Biological reporting sheets
  • Sheet 5: Benthic invertebrates in rivers
  • Sheet 6: Phytoplankton in lakes
  • Sheet 7: Macrophytes in lakes
why biological data
Why biological data?
  • Develop a European picture of ecological status of water bodies and identify potential problem areas at the European level
  • WFD-requirements (Annex V)
  • Added value for other directives (Habitat, Bathing water)
  • Well suited to monitor progress in reaching good ecological status in an overall European perspective
  • Added value for research projects
how will data be used
How will data be used?
  • Time-series of common metrics and derived national indices aggregated at different levels:
    • European level
    • Regional level (GIGs)
    • Country level
    • Type of Water body level (type-specific assessments)
  • Proportion of water bodies with increases, decreases or no changes over time of the common metric or derived national indices
  • Summaries of classification results at the national level
country comments and eea replies 1
Country comments and EEA replies (1)

Comments received from 7 countries (AT, DE, ES, FI, NL, HU, SE)

  • Metric results may not be available at national level, only at the river basin district (RBD) level
    • Data can only be reported if available
    • RBD authorities can do the reporting, if acceptable for the countries (ref. WISE development as presented in meeting 2nd Oct)
  • Class boundaries for metrics are different for natural water bodies, and for HMWB or artificial water bodies, thus data cannot be used for assessments by EEA without knowing whether the water body is natural or not
    • Natural water bodies can easily be distinguished from HMWB or artificial WB, as this is included in the site description sheet and in the data dictionary
    • EEA/ETC will make separate data analyses for these different WB groups
country comments and eea replies 2
Country comments and EEA replies (2)

Use national assessments of ecol status (EQRs) at water body level or for each biological element

  • The comparability of national assessment methods are still not adequate for some elements (e.g. macrophytes, phytoplankton) to allow confident analyses and assessments at the European level (this will be further discussed at the ECOSTAT meeting 8th-9th Oct.). Further harmonisation of indicators are needed (e.g. French comment 2nd Oct meeting)
  • Both biological and chemical parameters are included in assessments of ecological status. Similar to the reporting sheets on chemical water quality, SoE assessments should also include biological data.
  • Reporting of ecological status of water bodies will be done in WFD compliance reporting to Commission (and should be based on both biological and chemical data). The SoE assessments should not duplicate this, but rather bring added value to the development/trends of different ecosystem components.
country comments and eea replies 3
Country comments and EEA replies (3)

Benthic invertebrates in rivers (sheet 5)

  • Ref. value for common metrics (ICM) is not available for all national types, only for selected IC types
    • Data can only be reported from national types that are comparable to the IC types, according to the results from the intercalibration work in ECOSTAT
    • Data for specific national types are not comparable to other countries and cannot be used by EEA
  • The ICM will not be used for reporting (only for Intercalibr)
    • This is not a problem since the national metric can be used as long as the correlation to the ICM is given. That enables the EEA/ETC to convert from national metrics to ICM. National metrics without this correlation to the ICM cannot be used, since they are not comparable.
country comments and eea replies 4
Country comments and EEA replies (4)

Phytoplankton in lakes (sheet 6)

  • The % Cyanobacteria is not relevant for all lake types
    • It is still relevant for many lake types (ref. REBECCA), and reporting will in this first phase be restricted to those lake types. When more comparable national assessment systems have been developed for the other lake types, new common metrics will be available for reporting
  • The % Cyanobacteria should be specified to exclude Chroococcales, but include Microcystis (ref. REBECCA)
    • Comment is supported, and this has been added as a footnote in the revised reporting sheet
Type-specific responses of phytoplankton class-level indicators: Cyanobacteria(NGIG report and Ptacnik et al. Submitted, REBECCA)

Clear-water lakes

Humic lakes

  • Clear-water lakes: Low ref.cond, and low threshold
  • Humic lakes: Higher ref.cond., and higher threshold

proportion Cyanobact

proportion Cyanobact

Chlorophyll a

Chlorophyll a

country comments and eea replies 41
Country comments and EEA replies (4)

Macrophytes in lakes (sheet 7)

  • Macrophyte reporting sheets should include % Isoetids (softwater) and % Charaphytes (hardwater)
    • These are good sensitive indicators, and the comment is therefore supported and has been included in the revised version (also supported by REBECCA results)
  • Macrophyte growing depth is currently not measured
    • Growing depth is a very good indicator for eutrophication and is easily measured in macrophyte surveys. Including this metric should therefore be feasible and cost-efficient for most countries.
Macrophyte taxonomic indicator response to Total P(REBECCA D8/D11 report and Penning et al. submitted)

sum of the semi-quantitative scores

Quantile regressions showing the reduction of isoetids at Tot-P > 20 µg /L and total loss at Tot-P > 50 µg /L

country comments and eea replies 5
Country comments and EEA replies (5)
  • Intercalibration is not finalised for all elements proposed, thus the parameters proposed in the sheets are premature
    • Intercalibration and harmonisation of classification systems will go on for many years (also depending on new research)
    • As a start the proposed common indicators can be used to give new European assessments, expanding the purely chemical CSI assessments. As soon as further common metrics are available, these can be added to the CSI list.
  • The Ecostat group should be consulted before finalising the biological reporting sheets
    • Yes, this will be done
link to wfd intercalibration of classification systems
New sheet?

Sheet 5

Sheet 6

Sheet 7

Link to WFD Intercalibration of classification systems

Red circles:

  • Missing elements in rivers: Macrophytes and fish
  • Missing elements in lakes: Macroinvertebrates, phytobenthos and fish
general characteristics to be reported only once information on sites and class boundaries
General characteristics (to be reported only once): Information on sites and class boundaries
  • Unique site code and link to associated physico-chemical site, if not the same site for biological data – see SOER sheet ”Geographic information”
  • Reference conditions (reference value) for the common metric or derived national metrics for each site or for the type to which the site belongs
  • Methodological explanation of the metric reported
  • If national metrics are used, the conversion factor or correlation equation (including r2) between the national metric and the common metric is requested
  • Values of national class boundaries for the metric reported (absolute values and EQR): H/G, G/M, M/P, P/B
  • Type data for water body (size, depth, altitude, alkalinity, water colour) – see SOER sheet STA_CHA_PRE for details
  • Proxy pressure information – see SOER sheet STA_CHA_PRE for details
general characteristics when and what data should be reported
General characteristics: When and What data should be reported?


  • Annually, if metric measured every year
  • In the year the data become available (every 2 years, 3 years or 6 years)

What data should be reported?

For each site and date of sampling:

  • Date of sampling
  • Value of common metric or correlated national metric
  • National classification result (EQR)

For the first reporting of the metric:

  • Time-series of the metric (to be reported only once, but can be re-submitted if errors are found and corrected by the country)
specific characteristics benthic invertebrates in rivers
Specific characteristics: Benthic invertebrates in rivers
  • ICMi (Integrated Common Metric used for intercalibration) (STAR-project) or national metrics based on sensitive and tolerant taxa, abundance and species diversity
  • ICMi explanation and soft-ware:
    • Explanation:
      • Buffagni et al. 2006. Hydrobiologia 566: 357-364 + 379-399
    • Software:
      • Buffagni, A. and C. Belfiore (2006). ICMeasy 1.0. Intercalibration Common Metrics and Index Easy calculation. CNR-IRSA and UniTuscia-DECOS, Rome, Italy, August 2006.
      • Buffagni A. & C. Belfiore 2007. ICMeasy 1.2: A Software for the Intercalibration Common Metrics and Index easy calculation. User guide. Notiziario dei Metodi Analitici, CNR-IRSA Marzo 2007(1): (in press).
  • Conversion factor or correlation equation including r2 for the relationship between the ICMi and the national metric should be reported
specific characteristics phytoplankton in lakes 1
Specific characteristics Phytoplankton in lakes (1)
  • Chlorophyll a in mg/L, extraction method should be given (aceton, methanol, ethanol), refer to CEN standard
  • Total biomass in mg/L or mm3/m3 (CEN standard under development)
  • Cyanobacteria (bluegreens) biomass or % of total biomass:
    • Only genera increasing with eutrophication should be included (Microcystis, Anabaena, Planktothrix etc., full list of relevant taxa will be included in annex to reporting sheet)
  • Future revisions: Common metrics or national metrics intercalibrated against the common metric
specific characteristics phytoplankton in lakes 2
Specific characteristics Phytoplankton in lakes (2)
  • Aggregation of data before reporting:
    • Temporal aggregation: annual and summer (June-Sept) average values
    • Spatial aggregation: Integrated values for euphotic zone of the lake water body (euphotic zone ~secchi depth x 2.5) and/or surface sample (1 m depth)
  • Additional data requested:
    • Depth of euphotic zone (m)
    • Mean depth of thermocline during summer stratification (only in stratified lakes) (m)
    • Number of samples used to calculate the annual or summer average values
    • Median and standard deviation of values of determinands
specific characteristics macrophytes in lakes
Specific characteristics: Macrophytes in lakes
  • Macrophyte depth limit (m), i.e. maximum depth where macrophytes are observed
  • Number of monitoring sites / sub-sites used to calculate the depth limit
  • Detailed description of macrophyte survey method (refer to CEN standard currently under development)
  • Future revisions: Common metrics or national metrics intercalibrated against the common metric
  • The earlier proposed determinand: macrophyte coverage have been taken out because this determinand does not respond to pressure in any uniform way (unimodal response curve for eutrophication, multiple stable states in shallow lakes, high macrophyte cover is beneficial to birds and wild-life, so potential conflict between WFD and Habitat Dir)
more biological elements
More biological elements?
  • Benthic algae in rivers (diatoms) can be added as a new reporting sheet, since this element is currently intercalibrated in most GIGs; common metrics have been developed and national metrics have been tested against this common metric
  • Other elements must wait untill further development and intercalibration of classification systems