The WFD necessitates that the ecological quality status of surface water bodies is assessed using biological quality elements such as phytoplankton, fish, and benthic flora and fauna. Therefore, there is a need to identify biological indicators that respond in a predictable manner to human disturbances, and allow classification of ecological quality based on functional relationships between pressures and indicators. Currently, intensive research is being carried out in Europe to develop biological indicators and classification metrics that can be used in assessment, comparison and harmonization of ecological water quality targets across Europe. This work is naturally based on the strong research tradition and knowledge on the ecological functioning of surface waters in Europe. Still the WFD has imposed challenges for aquatic ecologists to develop scientifically sound, high-precision, and practical biological assessment tools for managers.
This book provides an overview on current knowledge and methods on the relationship between chemical and biological indicators for the major pressures for rivers, lakes and coastal waters. It is aimed at scientists working in environmental agencies, managers working on WFD implementation, university lecturers, students of applied ecology, water management and those interested in limnology and coastal management.