Euro-limpacs Deliverables

ABSTRACT - DELIVERABLE 86

Final design of a sampling protocol and guidelines for sampling procedure on habitat scale

Deliverable 14 is a report on the progress of the design of a sampling framework for monitoring at the habitat scale (design of a sampling protocol and guidelines for sampling procedure on habitat scale).

Within WP 2 (Climate ? hydromorphology interactions), task 2.2 (Detailed study of indicator at the habitat scale) climate ? hydrology ? habitat ? indicator interactions will be investigated in detail. A well defined and standardised fieldwork sampling procedure is therefore a prerequisite to detect linkages between the aquatic fauna and key habitat in the individual catchments in order to screen indicators species.

The development of the sampling framework has been carried out in close conjunction with fieldwork activities in WP2 Tasks 2.3 (Autecological and laboratory experiments), 3.1 (Hydrological change and aquatic taxa; Field experiments to examine effects of discharge dynamics), 4.1 (Key processes in mountain streams; Paired studies of straight and braided channels) and 5 (Key processes in meandering streams).

Running waters are characterised by strong hydrological and geomorphological gradients which relate to highly dynamic processes of three types: hydrological (flooding, desiccation, surface and groundwater interactions) geomorphological (channel bed degradation and aggradations, bank erosion etc.) and hydraulic processes (including high shear stress during spates, stagnation in dead zones during low flows). A further key factor determining the composition of aquatic organisms is thought to be water temperature. All these complex interacting processes are addressed in the EU project Euro−limpacs and will be covered by work package 2.

Recognising an ecological template against the background of spatially and temporally diverse hydrologic, geomorphic and faunistic processes as well as upland erosional forces requires a unique suite of sampling parameters that effectively reveal the structural and functional status of the ecosystem. Thus, investigations on functional habitat scale, rather than on site scale, can represent an attainable approach for ecological integrity studies. The study of distinct aquatic habitats is essential for the understanding the functions of an ecosystem, since habitats link the impacts on the natural environment and its inhabitants. Within the range of habitats in which a taxon can potentially be present there is a smaller set which must be present for a taxon to succeed. This is one of the foci of Task 2.2. Within the spatial coverage of microhabitat−site−reach−segment−catchment we will focus on the various microhabitats from one particular site.

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