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Method: Mediterranean Assessment System for Reservoirs Phytoplankton [Μεσογειακό Σύστημα Αξιολόγησης του φυτοπλα ]

1. General information

1.01 GIG: Mediterranean
Relevant intercalibration types: n.a.
1.02 Category: Lakes
1.03 BQE: Phytoplankton
1.04 Country: Cyprus
1.05 Specification: none
1.06 Method name: Mediterranean Assessment System for Reservoirs Phytoplankton
1.07 Original name:
Μεσογειακό Σύστημα Αξιολόγησης του φυτοπλα
1.08 Status: Method is/will be used in First RBMP (2009), Second RBMP (2015)
1.09 Detected pressure(s):
Eutrophication Specification of pressure-impact-relationship:
Chlorophyll-a concentration and total biovolume (as indicators of phytoplankton biomass) as well as % cyanobacteria biovolume and Catalan index (as indicators of phytoplankton composition) data were applied to a set of previous data on Spanish reservoirs in order to know their suitability for the Mediterranean reservoirs (C. de Hoyos, 2005). The metrics showed a significant relationship with Total Phosphorus (TP) as indicator of the eutrophication pressure (r = 0.858 for Chlorophyll-a, 0.881 for total biovolume, 0.747 for % cyanobacteria biovolume & 0.91 for Catalan index). When the dataset from sampled reservoirs during summer 2005 was included in the analysis, correlation significance decreased. This should not be surprising, bearing in mind that the agreed data sampling programme did not intend to cover the whole gradient of impact.
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:
Commission Decision of 30 October 2008 (2008/915/EC). Establishing, pursuant to Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, the values of the Member State monitoring system classifications as a result of the intercalibration exercise.
1.12 Scientific literature:
For chlorophyll concentration:
APHA, AWWA, WPCF 21st Edition, 2005. Edited by Eaton, A.D., L.S. Clesceri, E.W. Rice, A.E. Greenberg. Method 10200 H. Chlorophyll.
Standard Methods for the examination of water & wastewater.
For the assessment of phytoplankton abundance:
CEN 1520, 2006. Water quality. Guidance standard on the enumeration of phytoplankton using inverted microscopy (Utermöhl technique).
For the assessment of phytoplankton biovolume:
CEN TC 230/WG 2/TG 3. (Draft version), 2006. Phytoplankton biovolume determination using inverted microscopy ? Utermöhl technique.
For description of the GAI index:
Catalan,J., M. Ventura, A. Munné & L.Godé, 2003. Desenvolupament d?un index integral de qualitat ecolňgica i regionalització ambiental dels sistemes lacustres de Catalunya. Agencia Catalana del Aigua. Generalitat de Catalunya.
1.13 Method developed by:
Members of L-M GIG. The taxonomic composition metric I.Catalan (IGA) was designed by Dr. Jordi Catalan.
Email of developer:
Institute of developer: CEDEX
1.14 Method reported by: Polina Polykarpou
Email of person reporting the method:
Email of institute reporting the method: Water Development Department, Cyprus
1.15 Comments: none

2. Data acquisition

Field sampling/surveying

2.01 Sampling/Survey guidelines:
Lake Mediterranean GIG, 2007. Milestone 6 Report ? Lake Mediterranean, updated 26 November 2007. European Commission, Directorate General Joint Research Centre, Institute of Environment and Sustainability.
2.02 Short description:
Deepest lake point is detected. At this point depth of the euphotic layer is determined by using Secchi disk (euphotic layer = 2.5 x Secchi disk depth). This layer is then sampled, using an integrating water sampler
2.03 Method to select the sampling/survey site or area: n.a. Other method to select the sampling/survey site or area: Sampling of the euphotic layer, at the deepest lake point
2.04 Sampling/survey device: Water sampler
2.05 Specification: Integrating water sampler
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): June and September
2.09 Number of sampling/survey occasions (in time) to classify site or area: 2 samplings in the summer
2.10 Number of spatial replicates per sampling/survey occasion to classify site or area: 1 integrated water sample from the euphotic layer
2.11 Total sampled/surveyed area or volume or total sampling duration to classify site or area:
For chlorophyll concentration: 12 l of water and for phytoplankton analyses (Utermöhl technique): 0.4 l of water

Sample processing

2.12 Minimum size of organisms sampled and processed: 1-2 µm
2.13 Sample treatment:

For chlorophyll concentration: Sub-sampling depends from phytoplankton concentration in the original sample.
For phytoplankton analyses (Utermöhl technique): Sub-sampling depends from phytoplankton concentration in the sample. The most appropriate volume of the sub-sample should result to random distribution of phytoplankton taxa in the sedimentation chambers.
Sample is divided (sub-sampling) and organisms of a sub-sample are identified.
2.14 Level of taxonomical identification:
Level: Genus, Species/species groups
Specification of level of determination:
If identification to the species level is not possible or doubtful, identification remains at the genus level.
2.15 Record of abundance:
Determination of abundance: Individual counts
Abundance is related to: Volume
Unit of the record of abundance: Number of individuals per ml
2.16 Quantification of biomass: Chlorophyll-a concentration, Utermöhl technique
2.17 Other biological data: none
2.18 Special cases, exceptions, additions: none
2.19 Comments: none

3. Data evaluation


3.01 List of biological metrics:
Indicators of phytoplankton biomass:
(1) Chlorophyll-a concentration (mg/m3) = [26.7 * (664b - 665a) * V1] / (V2 * L)
(2) Total biovolume (mm3/L) = (average cell biovolume of taxon * number of individuals)

Indicators of phytoplankton composition:
(1) % Cyanobacteria biovolume = (cyanobacteria biovolume * 100) / total biovolume
(2) Catalan index = [1 + 0.1*Cryptophyceae + colonial Chrysophyceae + 2*(colonial Diatoms + colonial Chlorococcales) + 3* colonial Volvocales + 4*Cyanobacteria] / [1 + 2*(Dinoflagellates + Chrysophyceae not colonial) + Chlorococcales not colonial + Diatoms not colonial]
3.02 Does the metric selection differ between types of water bodies: No
3.03 Combination rule for multi-metrics: Average metric scores
Other rules:
Average of (average of biomass metrics & average of composition metrics)
3.04 From which biological data are the metrics calculated:
List of biological metrics: Aggregated data from multiple sampling/survey occasions in time

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: n.a.
Other reference source: Existing reference reservoirs
3.07 Reference site characterisation:
Number of sites: 10 (1 from Cyprus)
Geographical coverage: Mediterranean region
Location of sites: Cyprus, France, Greece, Portugal, Romania & Spain
Data time period: Summer of 2005 (4 months: from June to September)
Cyprus criteria: CORINE land cover, 90% of land in the catchment area is covered by semi-natural coniferous forest; 8% is agricultural land. No industry, nor significant human settlements.
3.08 Reference community description:
It corresponds totally, or nearly totally, to undisturbed conditions, aside from the hydromorphological alterations calling for HMWB designation. For Phytoplankton composition, the maximum ecological potential corresponds to a composition of algae groups coherent with undisturbed conditions. Very minor % of bloom-forming Cyanobacteria biovolume is expected. Phytoplankton biomass (chlorophyll concentration and total biovolume) show low values.
3.09 Results expressed as EQR: Yes

Boundary setting

3.10 Setting of ecological status boundaries: Boundaries taken over from the intercalibration exercise
3.11 Boundary setting procedure:
L-M GIG did not consider the H/G or Max/G boundary in the IC exercise, bearing in mind the WFD only requires for AWB and HMWB to be reported the ecological potential "good and above" as a whole, with no distinction between Good and Maximum Ecological Potential.
G/M boundary value was set as a percentile of the distribution of the data collected for each index, namely 95th percentile for the biomass metrics and 90th percentile for the composition metrics. The G/M boundary values of the four biological indices were calculated for each type: Siliceous Arid, Siliceous Wet and Calcareous.
3.12 "Good status" community:
It corresponds to a slightly deviation from reference conditions. The composition of algae groups does not become affected by longer changes although some taxa begin to change. The values of both % of bloom-forming Cyanobacteria biovolume and composition indices might be higher than at maximum ecological potential.


3.13 Consideration of uncertainty: Yes
Specification of uncertainty consideration:
Partly: Successful participation in Proficiency test phytoplankton 2008 (State Reservoirs Administration of Saxony) & participation in Mediterranean WISER phytoplankton counter workshop (22-23 Oct. 2009)
3.14 Comments: none

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WISER: "Water bodies in Europe: Integrative Systems to assess Ecological status and Recovery"
Online: [date: 2021/09/24]
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