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Evaluating the biological validity of European river typology systems with least disturbed benthic macroinvertebrate communities

Abstract: Humans have severely altered freshwater ecosystems globally, causing a loss of biodiversity. Regulatory frameworks, like the Water Framework Directive, have been developed to support actions that halt and reverse this loss. These frameworks use typology systems that summarize freshwater ecosystems into environmentally delineated types. Within types, ecosystems that are minimally impacted by human activities, i.e., in reference conditions, are expected to be similar concerning physical, chemical, and biological characteristics. This assumption is critical when water quality assessments rely on comparisons to type-specific reference conditions. Lyche Solheimet al. (2019) developed a pan-European river typology system, the Broad River Types, that unifies the nationalWater Framework Directive typology systems and is gaining traction within the research community. However, it is unknown how similar biological communities are within these individual Broad River Types. We used analysis of similarities and classification strength analysis to examine if the Broad River Types delineate distinct macroinvertebrate communities across Europe and whether they outperform two ecoregional approaches: the European Biogeographical Regions and Illies' Freshwater Ecoregions. We etermined indicator and typical taxa for the types of all three typology systems and evaluated their distinctiveness. All three typology systems captured more variation in macroinvertebrate communities than random combinations of sites. The results were similar among typology systems, but the Broad River Types always performed worse than either the Biogeographic Regions or Illies' Freshwater Ecoregions. Despite reaching statistical significance, the statistics of analysis of similarity and classification strength were low in all tests indicating substantial overlap among the macroinvertebrate communities of different types. We conclude that the Broad River Types do not represent an improvement upon existing freshwater typologies when used to delineate macroinvertebrate communities and we propose future avenues for advancement: regionally constrained types, better recognition of intermittent rivers, and consideration of biotic communities.

 Fuente: Science of the Total Environment, 2022, 842, 156689

 Editorial: Elsevier

 Fecha de publicación: 10/10/2022

 Nº de páginas: 11

 Tipo de publicación: Artículo de Revista

 DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.156689

 ISSN: 0048-9697,1879-1026

 Url de la publicación: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.156689