A special issue of the scientific journal Hydrobiologia was published this week, bringing together some of the research from the EU’s WISER project which looked at improving methods to assess the ecological status and recovery of water bodies in Europe.

The Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) was one of 25 European research institutions from 19 countries involved in the three-year project, and Dr Laurence Carvalho, a freshwater ecologist at CEH, is a guest editor on the new special issue.

The issue brings together 31 papers, with ten featuring authors from CEH. They look at topics covering new biological metrics for assessing the ecological status of lakes, including phytoplankton, macrophytes and fish; uncertainties in these assessments in relation to the amount of sampling effort; recovery processes in rivers, lakes and coastal waters and the processes and opportunities with managing large environmental datasets.

Dr Carvalho said, "This special issue synthesises a great deal of new ecological understanding of how freshwater and coastal organisms respond to pressures in our environment and how we now use this science to monitor the health of European waters."

"This work is enabling the limited resources available for restoring freshwaters to be more effectively targeted, for the benefit of biodiversity and for all the important services that we gain from freshwaters, a cleaner water supply and a healthier environment for recreation."

The WISER project, established to support the implementation of the Water Framework Directive, was coordinated by the University of Duisberg-Essen and concluded in 2012. Key findings, reports, databases, software and other deliverables can be found on the WISER website.

Additional information

WISER project website

Hydrobiologia special issue: Water bodies in Europe: integrative systems to assess ecological status and recovery – Results of the WISER project [subscription to Springer Journals required to view full papers]

Related CEH links

European Aquatic Plants Taxa List

UK Lake Restoration research




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