Have you heard about monitoring of aquatic ecosystems based on the benthic macroinvertebrate organisms that live in lakes or rivers? I bet you have, but do you know why and how they are used?
Benthic macroinvertebrates or macrozoobenthos represent a group of organisms which includes worms, liches, snails, shells, crayfishes (including other crustaceans) and insects. Based on their presence or absence in an aquatic ecosystem, they can show the health of an ecosystem. Its structural changes at community level can indicate the ecological status of the aquatic ecosystems. Currently most European countries have developed evaluation systems for freshwater ecosystems which includes assessing living organisms as biological quality elements.
One of the main responsibilities of the governmental authorities is to establish an effective assessment practice within the areas that are under their protection. Working under the umbrella of Resen Municipality (responsible for governance and managing the two protected areas – the Ezerani Nature Park and the Lake Prespa Monument of Nature), the Lake Prespa Monitoring Station at Stenje is essential for conducting the regular monitoring activities that involve both protected areas. PONT recognised the importance of long-term continuous monitoring as well.
In brief, the water quality assessment based on the benthic macroinvertebrates, can be summarised as:
– The use of biological indices for the river assessment are appropriate tools for detecting the disturbances of the macroinvertebrate communities; and
– The higher level of anthropogenic impact leads to higher degradation processes within the macroinvertebrate’s communities, especially evident at the downstream parts of the studied rivers within Prespa lake watershed and in parts of the lake itself.
If interested, more detailed information can be accessed here
By being aware of the importance of biological diversity across the Prespa Lakes cross-border region, we amplify the existence of the monitoring facilities at Stenje Monitoring Station, and its contribution to future transboundary monitoring practice within this significant and vulnerable region.
Associate for Biological Research, Lake Prespa Monitoring Station, Resen Municipality