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Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Macrophyte assessment in European lakes: Diverse approaches but convergent views of 'good' ecological status
Author(s): Poikane, Sandra
Portielje, Rob
Denys, Luc
Elferts, Didzis
Kelly, Martyn
Kolada, Agnieszka
Mäemets, Helle
Phillips, Geoff
Søndergaard, Martin
Willby, Nigel
van den Berg, Marcel S
Keywords: Ecology
General Decision Sciences
Behaviour and Systematics
Issue Date: 30-Nov-2018
Citation: Poikane S, Portielje R, Denys L, Elferts D, Kelly M, Kolada A, Mäemets H, Phillips G, Søndergaard M, Willby N & van den Berg MS (2018) Macrophyte assessment in European lakes: Diverse approaches but convergent views of 'good' ecological status. Ecological Indicators, 94 (Part 1), pp. 185-197.
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 ‘good’ 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 ‘good’ status), and an increase in abundance of free-floating plants (characterizing ‘less than good’ status) were the most significant changes along the ecological status gradient. Macrophyte communities of ‘good’ 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 ‘less than good’ status, including filamentous algae, lemnids, nymphaeids, and several elodeids (e.g., Zannichellia palustris and Elodea nuttallii). Our findings establish a ‘guiding image’ of the macrophyte community at ‘good’ ecological status in hard-water lakes of the Central-Baltic region of Europe.
DOI Link: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2018.06.056
Rights: © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (

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