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Method: Slovak assessment of benthic diatoms in rivers [Metodika pre odvodenie referencných podmienok a klasifikacných schém pre hodnotenie ekologického stavu vôd]

1. General information

1.01 GIG: Eastern Continental
Relevant intercalibration types: R-E1, R-E2, R-E3, R-E4, R-E6
1.02 Category: Rivers
1.03 BQE: Benthic Diatoms
1.04 Country: Slovakia
1.05 Specification: none
1.06 Method name: Slovak assessment of benthic diatoms in rivers
1.07 Original name:
Metodika pre odvodenie referencných podmienok a klasifikacných schém pre hodnotenie ekologického stavu vôd
1.08 Status: Method is/will be used in neither first nor second RBMP
1.09 Detected pressure(s):
Catchment land use, Eutrophication, Pollution by organic matter Specification of pressure-impact-relationship:
Altogether 312 benthic diatom taxa from reference sites (115 reference sites) and 410 taxa from monitoring potentially impacted sites (313 sites): CEE, EPI-D, IPS - Strongest relation to Organic pollution (Spearman Correlation Coefficient): BOD5 - CEE and EPI-D (-0.513, -0.520), total P and total N - EPI-D (-0.611, -0.616). All indices were correlated significantly with land use. CEE, EPI-D and IPS with Agricultural Land Use (-0.461, -0.444, -0.441), Urban Areas (-0.405, -0.441, -0.444) and correlation with Hydromorphological Quality Score (-0.204, -0.178, -0.263).
Yes, with qualitative data (e.g. response at reference against impacted sites).
1.10 Internet reference:
1.11 Pertinent literature of mandatory character:
STN 757715. Biological analysis of surface water, 2008.
Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parlament and of the Council of 23 October establishing a framework of Community action in the field of water policy.
REFCOND, 2003. Common implementation strategy for the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC). Guidance document No. 10. Rivers and Lakes - Typology, Reference Conditions and Classification Systems. European Communities, Luxembourg.
Sporka, F., J. Makovinska, D. Hlubikova, L. Tothova, V. Muzik, R. Magulova, K. Kucarova, P. Pekarova & L. Mrafkova, 2007. Method of the derivation of reference conditions and classification schemes for ecological status assessment. WIR Bratislava, SHMU Bratislava, UZ SAV Bratislava, SAZP Banska Bystrica. , 288 pp.
National method for evaluation ES of streams based on fish (
1.12 Scientific literature:
Acs, E., K. Szabo, B. Toth & K.T. Kiss, 2004. Investigation of benthic algal communities, especially diatoms of some Hungarian streams in connection with reference conditions of the Water Framework Directives. Acta Botanica Hungarica 46 (3-4): 255-277.
Descy, J.P. & M. Coste, 1991. A test of methods for assessing water quality based on diatoms. Verh. Internat. Verein. Limnol. 24: 2112-2116.
Kelly, M.G., A. Cazaubon, E. Coring, A. Dell'uomo, L. Ector, B. Goldschidt, H. Guasch, J. Hurliman, A. Jarlam, B. Kawecka, J. Kwandrans, R. Laugaste, E.A. Lindstrom, M. Leirao, P. Marvan, J. Pasisak, J. Prygiel, E. Rott, S. Sabater, H. Van Dam & J. Vizinet, 1998. Recommendations for the routine sampling of diatoms for water quality assessments in Europe. Journal of Applied Phycology 10: 215-224.
Lecointe, C., M. Coste & J. Prygiel, 1993. Omnidia software for taxonomy, calculation of diatom indices and inventories management. Hydrobiologia 269 (270): 509-513.
Pantle, R. & H. Buck, 1955. Die biologische Überwachung der Gewässer und die Darstellung der Ergebnisse. Gas und Wasserfach 96: 604.
Prygiel, J. & M. Coste, 1993. The assessment of water quality in the Artois Picardie water basin (France) by the use of diatom indices. Hydrobiologia 269 (270): 343-349.
Rott, E., 1991. Methodological aspects and perspectives in the use of periphyton for monitoring and protecting rivers. In Whitton, B.A., E. Rott & G. Friedrich (eds), Use of Algae for Monitoring Rivers, Institut für Botanik, Universit6auml;t Innsbruck, Innsbruck, pp. 9-16.
Rott, E., E. Pipp & P. Pfister, 2003. Diatom methods developed for river quality assessment in Austria and a cross-check against numerical trophic indication methods used in Europe. Algological Studies 110: 91-115.
Stevenson, R.J. & Y. Pan, 1999. Assessing environmental conditions in rivers and streams with diatoms. In Stroemer, E.F. & J.P. Smol (eds), The diatoms: Application for the environmental and earth sciences, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 11-40.
Van Dam, H., A. Mertens & J. Sinkeldam, 1994. A coded checklist and ecological indicator values of freshwater diatoms from the Netherlands. Netherlands Journal of Aquatic Ecology 28 (1): 117-133.
Zelinka, M. & P. Marvan, 1961. Zur Präzisierung der biologischen Klassifikation der Reinheit fliessender Gewässer. Archiv für Hydrobiologie 57: 389-407.
1.13 Method developed by: Dr. Dáša Hlúbiková
Email of developer:
Institute of developer: Water Research Institute, Slovak Academy of Science
1.14 Method reported by: Matus Haviar, Emilia Misikova Elexova
Email of person reporting the method:,
Email of institute reporting the method: Water Research Institute, Slovak National Water Reference Laboratory
1.15 Comments: none

2. Data acquisition

Field sampling/surveying

2.01 Sampling/Survey guidelines:
EN 13946, 2003. Water quality. Guidance standard for the routine sampling and pre-treatment of benthic diatoms from rivers.
2.02 Short description:
According to EN 13946: 2003.Water quality. Guidance standard for the routine sampling and pre-treatment of benthic diatoms from rivers, STN 757715 Biological analysis of surface water.
2.03 Method to select the sampling/survey site or area: Expert knowledge
2.04 Sampling/survey device: Brush
Other phytobenthos sampling device: tooth brush
Any other sampling device: Toothbrush
2.05 Specification: none
2.06 Sampled/surveyed habitat:
Sampled habitat: Single habitat(s)
2.07 Sampled/surveyed zones in areas with tidal influence: not relevant
2.08 Sampling/survey month(s): April to May, September to October
2.09 Number of sampling/survey occasions (in time) to classify site or area: 2 occasions
2.10 Number of spatial replicates per sampling/survey occasion to classify site or area: Min. 100 cm2 of rock surface
2.11 Total sampled/surveyed area or volume or total sampling duration to classify site or area:
Benthic diatoms min. 100 cm2

Sample processing

2.12 Minimum size of organisms sampled and processed: Without size limitation - benthic diatoms
2.13 Sample treatment:
Organisms of the complete sample are identified.
2.14 Level of taxonomical identification:
Level: Genus, Species/species groups
Specification of level of determination: n.a.
2.15 Record of abundance:
Determination of abundance: Individual counts, Relative abundance
Abundance is related to: Area
Unit of the record of abundance: Number of valvae (300-500).
2.16 Quantification of biomass: n.a.
2.17 Other biological data: none
2.18 Special cases, exceptions, additions:
Non-wadable rivers are sampled only at the banks (riparian zones), i.e. multi-habitat-sampling is confined to the river margin habitats (benthic invertebrates and diatoms).
2.19 Comments: none

3. Data evaluation


3.01 List of biological metrics: IPS, CEE, EPI-D indices
3.02 Does the metric selection differ between types of water bodies: No
3.03 Combination rule for multi-metrics: Worst quality class
Other rules: betweeen benthic diatoms and bacteria moduls - worst result classifies
3.04 From which biological data are the metrics calculated:
List of biological metrics: Aggregated data from multiple spatial replicates
Other metric calculation: (each season separately)

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:
Existing near-natural reference sites, Least Disturbed Conditions, Modelling (extrapolating model results)
3.07 Reference site characterisation:
Number of sites: 60 Sites in Carpathian region
Geographical coverage: Carpathians, Pannonian lowland
Location of sites:
Western (majority of territory of Slovakia) and Eastern Carpathians (Northeastern Slovakia) from more than 200 metres a.s.l. to 1000 metres a.s.l.
Data time period: April - May 2004, 2005, September - October 2003, 2004, 2005
Criteria: n.a.
3.08 Reference community description:
Background taxa lists especially created for good status conditions as well as for any other ecological status classes are not prescribed in Slovakia.
3.09 Results expressed as EQR: Yes

Boundary setting

3.10 Setting of ecological status boundaries:
Equidistant division of the EQR gradient
High-good boundary derived from metric variability at near-natural reference sites
3.11 Boundary setting procedure:
Benthic diatoms: 2 modules - benthic diatoms and filamentous bacteria. a) benthic diatoms modul - 4 altitude categories, based on reference sites within 2004. For 200-500 m, 500-800 m and above 800 m - boundary between H/G = 25th percentile of average based on reference sites in 2004. For altitude below 200 linear model used - derived from type of altitude 200-500 m by means of modelling (this procedure - applied for all 3 metrics). The other boundaries calculated using the range of metrics values within high status (best value) and minimal calculated value of metric from the data set. The whole range was equally subdivided and boundaries were stated accordingly.
b) filamentous bacteria module-percentage of bacteria in phytobenthos in vivo (5-class classification). Each class is classified by Score (below 1%-5, 1-10%-4, 11-25%-3, 25-40%-2, above 40%-1.)
Result of both modules = the worse value classifies.
3.12 "Good status" community:
In Slovakia background taxa lists are not prescribed and especially created for good status conditions as well as for any other ES classes.


3.13 Consideration of uncertainty: Yes
Specification of uncertainty consideration:
Benthic diatoms: Cases of uncertainty which were calculated: Step 1: Sampling - reproducibility and repeatability, Step 2: preparing the preparate - reproducibility, repeatability and homogeneity (measured including in repeatability, Step 3: repeatability of index in analysis of the sample. Method: Four samplers took both samples from the same site (together 8 samples), analyses of each sample carried out in laboratory by one person making permanent preparate and analyses. In the last step, total expanded uncertainty was calculated from calculated relative combined uncertainty of sampling, preparates and analysis. The result was 23,21%.
3.14 Comments: none

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