Title: Macrophyte assessment in European lakes: Diverse approaches but convergent views of ʽgoodʼ ecological status
Authors: POIKANE SANDRAPORTIELJE ROBDENYS LUCELFERTS DIDZISKELLY MARTYNKOLADA AGNIEZSKAMAEMETS HELLEPHILLIPS GEOFFSONDERGAARD MARTINWILLBY NIGELVAN DEN BERG MARCEL
Citation: ECOLOGICAL INDICATORS vol. 94 no. Part 1 p. 185-197
Publisher: ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
Publication Year: 2018
JRC N°: JRC111950
ISSN: 1470-160X
URI: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1470160X1830503X
http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC111950
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2018.06.056
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: The European Water Framework Directive has been adopted by Member States to assess and manage the ecological integrity of surface waters. Specific challenges include harmonizing diverse assessment systems across Europe, linking ecological assessment to restoration measures and reaching a common view on ʽgoodʼ ecological status. In this study, nine national macrophyte-based approaches for assessing ecological status were compared and harmonized, using a large dataset of 539 European lakes. A macrophyte common metric, representing the average standardized view of each lake by all countries, was used to compare national methods. This was also shown to reflect the total phosphorus (r2=0.32), total nitrogen (r2=0.22) as well as chlorophyll-a (r2=0.35-0.38) gradients, providing a link between ecological data, stressors and management decisions. Despite differing assessment approaches and initial differences in classification, a consensus was reached on how type-specific macrophyte assemblages change across the ecological status gradient and where ecological status boundaries should lie. A marked decline in submerged vegetation, especially Charophyta (characterizing ʽgoodʼ status), and an increase in abundance of free-floating plants (characterizing ʽless than goodʼ status) were the most significant changes along the ecological status gradient. Macrophyte communities of ʽgoodʼ status lakes were diverse with many charophytes and several Potamogeton species. A large number of taxa occurred across the entire gradient, but only a minority dominated at ʽless than goodʼ status, including filamentous algae, lemnids, nymphaeids, and several elodeids (e.g., Zannichellia palustris and Elodea nuttallii). Our findings establish a ʽguiding imageʼ of the macrophyte community at ʽgoodʼ ecological status in hard-water lakes of the Central-Baltic region of Europe.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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