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Use of a macroinvertebrate based biotic index to estimate critical metal concentrations for good ecological water quality

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Large datasets from total and dissolved metal concentrations in Flemish (Belgium) fresh water systems and the associated macroinvertebrate-based biotic index MMIF (Multimetric Macroinvertebrate Index Flanders) were used to estimate critical metal concentrations for good ecological water quality, as imposed by the European Water Framework Directive (2000). The contribution of different stressors (metals and water characteristics) to the MMIF were studied by constructing generalized linear mixed effect models. Comparison between estimated critical concentrations and the European and Flemish EQS, shows that the EQS for As, Cd, Cu and Zn seem to be sufficient to reach a good ecological quality status as expressed by the invertebrate-based biotic index. In contrast, the EQS for Cr, Hg and Pb are higher than the estimated critical concentrations, which suggests that when environmental concentrations are at the same level as the EQS a good quality status might not be reached. The construction of mixed models that included metal concentrations in their structure did not lead to a significant outcome. However, mixed models showed the primary importance of water characteristics (oxygen level, temperature, ammonium concentration and conductivity) for the MMIF.
Journal: Chemosphere
ISSN: 0045-6535
Volume: 119
Pages: 138 - 144
Publication year:2015