Assessing ecological water quality of freshwaters: PhyCoI—a new phytoplankton community Index

Katsiapi, Matina, Moustaka-Gouni, Maria and Sommer, Ulrich (2016) Assessing ecological water quality of freshwaters: PhyCoI—a new phytoplankton community Index Ecological Informatics, 31 . pp. 22-29. DOI 10.1016/j.ecoinf.2015.11.004.

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[img] Text (Classification of the various freshwaters according to: each of the five metrics/sub-indices of the PhyCoI, the PhyCoI Index (mean values), previous classification (Moustaka and Katsiapi, 2010) and the Iga Index.)
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Supplementary data:


• We propose a new Phytoplankton Index for monitoring the ecological status of lakes.
• We develop a community index integrating the response to anthropogenic pressure.
• We link high frequency Secchi depth with low frequency phytoplankton monitoring.
• We demonstrate the correlation of the index with land use on the watershed scale.
• The index offers a cost-effective tool, practical for medium-qualified personnel.

We propose and test a new Phytoplankton Community Index (PhyCoI) for monitoring the ecological status of lakes and reservoirs. The design of our PhyCoI is based on the fact that phytoplankton biomass and community structure respond to changes in water quality (mainly eutrophication) and by themselves also influence water quality. In order to accommodate this double role of phytoplankton as indicator and impact, PhyCoI is based on phytoplankton community properties at different hierarchical levels combining both specific metrics (total biomass, taxonomic group biomass, cyanobacteria contribution, taxonomic group species richness) and new or modified sub-indices. It is calculated from the scores of the different metrics/sub-indices resulting in a final index value in the range from 0 to 5, to assess water quality on the basis of five ecological classes according to the Water Framework Directive (WFD). The test of PhyCoI was based on Carlson's Trophic State Index (TSISD) based on water transparency (Secchi depth) in 26 Greek lakes and reservoirs covering the entire spectrum from oligotrophic to hypertrophic. A highly significant relationship at p < 0.001 between the two variables was found, with the values of the PhyCoI declining with increasing TSISD. Furthermore, a significant relationship between the PhyCoI and land use types at the watershed of the studied freshwaters was found identifying permanent crops, pastures and shrubs and herbaceous vegetation associations as significant predictors of PhyCoI values. Because of the amount of labor involved in obtaining the PhyCoI we suggest to combine low frequency PhyCoI determinations with a high frequency Secchi depth measurements for practical monitoring purposes.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: WOS:000369471400003
Keywords: Phytoplankton; Lakes; Ecological quality; WFD; Secchi depth; Index
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-N Experimental Ecology - Food Webs
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.ecoinf.2015.11.004
ISSN: 1574-9541
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2015 14:46
Last Modified: 03 May 2017 11:45

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