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MMIF [id:]

Method: Multimetric Macroinvertebrate Index Flanders [Multimetrische Macro-invertebratenindex Vlaanderen]

1. General information

1.01 GIG: Central-Baltic
Relevant intercalibration types: R-C1, R-C4
1.02 Category: Rivers
1.03 BQE: Benthic Invertebrates
1.04 Country: Belgium (Flanders)
1.05 Specification: Flemish region
1.06 Method name: Multimetric Macroinvertebrate Index Flanders
1.07 Original name: Multimetrische Macro-invertebratenindex Vlaanderen
1.08 Status: Method is/will be used in First RBMP (2009), Second RBMP (2015)
1.09 Detected pressure(s):
Eutrophication, General degradation, Habitat destruction, Heavy metals, Hydromorphological degradation, Impact of alien species, Pollution by organic compounds (e.g. DDT, PCB), Pollution by organic matter, Riparian habitat alteration Specification of pressure-impact-relationship:
Gabriels et al. (2010) found a positive correlation of MMIF with oxygen concentration (Spearman R=0.45, n=304) and with oxygen saturation (Spearman R=0.46, n=304) and a negative correlation with Kjeldahl nitrogen (Spearman R=-0.66, n=282), total nitrogen (Spearman R=-0.43, n=301), ammonium (Spearman R=-0.69, n=297), nitrite (Spearman R=-0.41, n=301), total phosphorous (Spearman R=-0.61, n=296), orthophosphate (Spearman R=-0.53, n=170), 5 day biochemical oxygen demand (Spearman R=-0.62, n=261) and chemical oxygen demand (Spearman R=-0.43, n=237) (p<0.001 in all cases).
Yes, with quantitative data (e.g. against range of sites reflecting continuous gradient of pressure).
1.10 Internet reference: n.a.
1.11 Pertinent literature of mandatory character:
VMM, 2009. Biological assessment of the natural, heavily modified and artificial surface water bodies in Flanders according to the European Water Framework Directive. Vlaamse Milieumaatschappij, Erembodegem, Belgium.
1.12 Scientific literature:
Gabriels, W., K. Lock, N. De Pauw & P.L.M. Goethals, 2010. Multimetric Macroinvertebrate Index Flanders (MMIF) for biological assessment of rivers and lakes in Flanders (Belgium). Limnologica (in press).
1.13 Method developed by: Wim Gabriels et al.
Email of developer:
Institute of developer: Flemish Environment Agency
1.14 Method reported by: Wim Gabriels
Email of person reporting the method:
Email of institute reporting the method: Flemish Environment Agency
1.15 Comments: none

2. Data acquisition

Field sampling/surveying

2.01 Sampling/Survey guidelines:
NBN T92-402. Biological quality of watercourses. Determination of the Biotic Index based on aquatic macroinvertebrates.
2.02 Short description:
With the handnet, a stretch of approximately 10-20 meters is sampled during 3 minutes for watercourses less than 2 m wide or up to 5 minutes for larger rivers. Sampling effort is proportionally distributed over all accessible aquatic habitats. This includes the bed substrate (stones, sand or mud), macrophytes (floating, submerged, emerged), immersed roots of overhanging trees and all other natural or artificial substrates, floating or submerged in the water. Each aquatic habitat is explored, either with the handnet or manually, in order to collect the highest possible diversity of macroinvertebrates. For this purpose, kicksampling is performed by vertically positioning the handnet on the bed and turning over bottom material located immediately upstream by foot or hand. In addition to the handnet sampling, animals are manually picked from stones, leaves or branches along the same stretch. If a site is too deep to be sampled with the handnet method, macroinvertebrates can alternatively be sampled using the so-called Belgian artificial substrates. These are composed of a plastic netting filled with medium-sized (4-8 cm) pieces of brick, with a total volume of approximately 5 l. Per sampling site, three substrates are placed in the water, anchored with a rope to a fixed point located on the bank. The substrates should not be placed in open water but along the banks: in protected sites among the vegetation near the surface, in unprotected sites, which are exposed to surface turbulence, in deeper water. After an exposure time of at least 3 weeks, the substrates are lifted from the water and transferred into a closed container.
2.03 Method to select the sampling/survey site or area: Expert knowledge
2.04 Sampling/survey device: Artificial substrate, Hand net
Other benthic invertebrate sampling device:
Standard method is handnet; at sampling sites where this is not feasible, artificial substrates are used
Any other sampling device:
Standard method is handnet; at sampling sites where this is not feasible, artificial substrates are used
2.05 Specification:
Handnet: standard handnet with 500 µm mesh size / Artifical substrates: a plastic netting filled with medium-sized (4-8 cm) pieces of brick, with a total volume of approximately 5 l
2.06 Sampled/surveyed habitat:
Sampled habitat: All available habitats per site (Multi-habitat)
2.07 Sampled/surveyed zones in areas with tidal influence: not relevant
2.08 Sampling/survey month(s): April - November
2.09 Number of sampling/survey occasions (in time) to classify site or area: One
2.10 Number of spatial replicates per sampling/survey occasion to classify site or area: 1
2.11 Total sampled/surveyed area or volume or total sampling duration to classify site or area:
Sampling duration of 3-5 min. depending of the size of the watercourse.

Sample processing

2.12 Minimum size of organisms sampled and processed: All animals retained after sieving with 500 µm mesh size
2.13 Sample treatment:
Organisms of the complete sample are identified.
2.14 Level of taxonomical identification:
Level: Family, Genus, Other
Specification of level of determination:
Plathelminthes, Hirudinea, Mollusca, Hemiptera, Megaloptera, Odonata, Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera: genus; Polychaeta, Oligochaeta, Coleoptera, Trichoptera, Crustacea: family; Diptera (Chironomidae): group (thummi-plumosus or non thummi-plumosus); Diptera (other): family; Acari: presence (i.e. counted as one taxon)
2.15 Record of abundance:
Determination of abundance: Individual counts
Abundance is related to: n.a.
Unit of the record of abundance: Number of individuals per sample
Other record of abundance: Total sample
2.16 Quantification of biomass: n.a.
2.17 Other biological data: none
2.18 Special cases, exceptions, additions:
Flemish river type 'Mlz' (tidal rivers) is not addressed using this method; for this type, see transitional waters method
2.19 Comments: none

3. Data evaluation


3.01 List of biological metrics:
Total number of taxa; number of EPT taxa; number of other sensitive taxa; Shannon-Wiener diversity index; mean tolerance score (the mean of the tolerance scores of all encountered taxa; the tolerance score is predefined for each taxon)
3.02 Does the metric selection differ between types of water bodies: No
3.03 Combination rule for multi-metrics: Average metric scores
3.04 From which biological data are the metrics calculated:
List of biological metrics:
Data from single sampling/survey occasion in time
Data from single spatial replicate

Reference conditions

3.05 Scope of reference conditions: Surface water type-specific
3.06 Key source(s) to derive reference conditions:
Scope of reference conditions: Expert knowledge
3.07 Reference site characterisation:
Number of sites: n.a.
Geographical coverage: n.a.
Location of sites: n.a.
Data time period: n.a.
Criteria: n.a.
3.08 Reference community description:
Reference conditions are assumed to correspond to an EQR value of 1, which is associated with expert-based type-specific metric values reflecting high taxa richness, sensitivity and diversity.
3.09 Results expressed as EQR: Yes

Boundary setting

3.10 Setting of ecological status boundaries: n.a.
Other boundary setting:
Originally, equidistant division of the EQR gradient was applied (boundaries at 0.8, 0.6, 0.4, 0.2); these values were modified for most types as a result of the intercalibration exercise
3.11 Boundary setting procedure:
EQR gradient is assumed to represent a continuous correlation with general degradation.
3.12 "Good status" community:
The EQR values at good status reflect metric values that are only slightly lower than at (expert-based) reference state, hence the community can be characterised as only slightly different from reference in terms of taxa richness, sensitivity and diversity.


3.13 Consideration of uncertainty: No (to be done)
3.14 Comments: none

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