Original paper

Spatial variation in lake benthic macroinvertebrate ecological assessment: a synthesis of European case studies

Sandin, Leonard; Solimini, Angelo G.


This paper summarizes eight case studies that were analysed as part of the research theme “lake benthic macroinvertebrates“ forming part of the EU-funded WISER project “Water bodies in Europe: Integrative Systems to assess Ecological status and Recovery“. The relationships between lake benthic macroinvertebrate community composition and natural and human induced environmental variables (eutrophication, catchment land-use, and hydromorphological pressures) were studied. This was done in different lake habitats (the profundal, sublittoral, and littoral) in five regions of Europe (Alpine, Northern, Central Baltic, Atlantic, and Mediterranean). The goal of the papers was to assess the main environmental factors and how they affected benthic macroinvertebrate variation at different ecological scales and thus better our basic understanding of how changes in these environmental variables can be tracked using local invertebrate assemblages. In this issue we provide a contribution towards the understanding of basic sources of spatial variation of invertebrate assemblages in different European lake habitat types and their relationship with major human pressures. All papers have an obvious applied objective and our aim is to provide useful information for designing monitoring programs and invertebrate based ecological classification tools with the ultimate aim to improve a sound management of European lake ecosystems.


lake ecosystembenthic macroinvertebrateecological assessmenteutrophicationhydromorpho logy