Macroinvertebrates as indicators of water quality in rivers: a scientific basis for Polish standard method.
Fleituch, T.; Soszka, H.; Kudelska, D.; Kownacki, A.
There is a need for national water quality standards of biological assessment based on macroinvertebrates in rivers to be established in Poland. With this aim in mind, a preliminary study was conducted in 1999. Quantitative benthic communities were tested at the taxonomic level of the family, along with physico-chemical properties of water, in relation to a gradient of human impact exemplified by 12 rivers. The ability of different benthic metrics to detect the impact of pollution on rivers was compared. A total of sixty families were collected. The most significant water-quality factors shown to be related to the distribution of aquatic invertebrates were the oxygen and nutrient concentrations (PO4-P and NH4-N). Most metrics were able to detect the gradient in levels of pollution existing among the study sites. A final comparison carried out on larger number of Polish rivers will allow for the development of a biological method calibrated in relation to the least and most polluted sites.