Original paper

Diatom methods developed for river quality assessment in Austria and a cross-check against numerical trophic indication methods used in Europe

Rott, Eugen; Pipp, Eveline; Pfister, Peter


Species based diatom investigations are an essential component of the four new periphyton based methods developed for river quality assessment in Austria since 1993. The monitoring methods based on all Austria data allow (A) a first approach to assess ecological quality based on all algae including diatoms by means of 17 river - type specific communities comprising four degraded communities, (B) the assessment of organic enrichment by SI (Saprobic Index) using diatoms only and (C) the assessment of the trophic status by TI (Trophic Index TP based) and TIN (Trophic Index nitrogen based) using diatoms. In addition, an exclusively diatom based and statistically optimised indication method using indicating species groups for the trophic classification of running waters in one of the larger provinces in Austria (Upper Austria) was developed. In order to check the international comparability of the numerical results from the TI evaluations in Austria, the major numerical based methods from France, Germany and the UK respectively are applied to the Austrian dataset. The results from this cross-validation combined with experiences from the statistical conception of methods for Austrian river monitoring are used to formulate requirements for the delimitation of the good ecological status and recommendations for the successful harmonisation of diatom methods in a trans-European approach.


bioindicatorsdiatomsecological qualityeutrophicationperiphytonmajor nutrientsreference communitiesrunning watersaprobic status