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Biological Monitoring of Water Quality the totality of features and characteristics of water that bear upon its ability to support an appropriate natural.

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Presentation on theme: "Biological Monitoring of Water Quality the totality of features and characteristics of water that bear upon its ability to support an appropriate natural."— Presentation transcript:

1 Biological Monitoring of Water Quality the totality of features and characteristics of water that bear upon its ability to support an appropriate natural fauna, and to sustain legitimate uses. (Pugh, 1997)

2 The 3 components of management of ecological quality in rivers Ecological Quality QualityStructureQuantity

3 General Quality Assessment BiologyChemistry NutrientsAesthetics Water Quality

4 GQA Scheme for Biology A = Very Good –Biology similar (or better than) that expected for an average and unpolluted river of this size, type and location. High diversity of taxa, usually with several species in each. Rare to find dominance of any one taxon. B = Good C = Fairly Good, D = Fair, E = Poor F = Poor –Biology limited to a small number of very tolerant taxa such as worms, midge larvae, leeches and water hoglouse, present in very high numbers.

5 Water Framework Directive (2000) WFD looks at the whole system; seeks to manage water proactively on a catchment basis, using reference systems Aims: 1.To achieve Good Status for all waters by set deadlines (2015) 2.To promote sustainable water consumption 3.To protect & enhance the status of aquatic ecosystems & associated wetlands Water management to be based on natural units not natural ones

6 Aquatic Invertebrates Sampling Identification Using aquatic inverts as indicators of biological water quality

7 What are Aquatic Macro-invertebrates?

8 Aquatic Invertebrates - Examples

9 Why Sample Aquatic Invertebrates? 1.Aquatic inverts are ecologically important within the food chain – - abundance - species and ecological diversity Functional roles include: Algal grazers Consumers of bacteria & fungi Detritivores Predators Prey

10 Why Sample Aquatic Invertebrates cont. ? 2.Aquatic Invertebrates vary in their sensitivity to water pollution i.e. they are good biological indicators 3.Aquatic invertebrate data provides longer term information than chemical data 4.Sampling aquatic invertebrates is more meaningful than chemical monitoring 5.Aquatic invertebrates are relatively easy to collect

11 Collecting Samples Health and Safety first! 1.Prepare necessary methods statement and risk assessment


13 Collecting Samples 2.Check mobile phone, put on life jacket 3. Review bank features including slope, vegetation, conditions underfoot, obstacles or special hazards 4. Review waterbody features including depth, turbidity, flow, substrate, channel profile, vegetation, obstacles or special hazards



16 Collecting Samples 5.Together with co-worker, identify point(s) of entrance and exit 6.Use ranging pole to test substrate and provide support 7.Go slowly 8.Common Sense Rule: Dont get in if there is any doubt over safety

17 Collecting Samples 4 – Minute Combined Kick-sweep Sample –30 seconds collection of surface activity insects –3 minute kicking and sweeping –30 seconds collection of benthic invertebrates adherent to stones, logs, car tyres and shopping trolleys Key Point: Important to divide time between component habitats or microhabitats proportionally E.g. Open water, submerged vegetation, emergent vegetation, exposed substrate, overhanging vegetation, submerged wood


19 Sample Storage Either a three stage process: Firstly: apply a fixative, usually 4% aqueous solution of formaldehyde Secondly: sort sample, i.e. pick out inverts Thirdly: store sorted sample in a preservative, usually 70% alcohol Or; simply use 90% alcohol (IMS)

20 Sorting a Sample Wash out fixative Dilute sample across a white tray Carefully pick out the invertebrates

21 Review of Aquatic Invertebrate Groups


23 Crustacea – Water Fleas

24 Crustacea – Freshwater Shrimp

25 Platyhelminthes - Flatworms

26 Annelida – Hirudinea - Leeches

27 Mollusca – Gastropoda - Snails

28 Insecta – Hemiptera – Water Bugs

29 Insecta – Coleoptera – Water Beetles

30 Insecta – Diptera – True Flies

31 Insecta – Megaloptera - Alderflies

32 Insecta – Tricoptera – Caseless Caddis Flies

33 Insecta – Tricoptera – Cased Caddis Flies

34 Insecta – Tricoptera - Adult Caddis Fly

35 Insecta – Plecoptera – Stone-flies

36 Insecta –Ephemeroptera - Mayflies

37 Insecta – Ephemeroptera – Adult Mayfly

38 Insecta – Odonata – Dragonflies & Damselflies

39 Data Interpretation

40 Calculate the Biotic Scores Taxon or species richness; the easiest measure of biodiversity BMWP score; the Biological Monitoring Working Party score ASPT index value; the Average Score Per Taxon

41 BMWP scoreCategoryInterpretation 0-10Very poorHeavily polluted 11-40PoorPolluted or impacted 41-70ModerateModerately impacted GoodClean but slightly impacted >100Very goodUnpolluted, unimpacted BMWP Scale

42 BWMP – Score dependent on sample size, sampling efficiency and seasons Different unpolluted rivers often generate very different BMWP scores due to natural variation in ecological communities eg. silted lowland rivers with turbulent upland streams. The solution ? RIVPACS In this system the different river types are taken into account


44 Data Interpretation Compare sampling stations, e.g. up and downstream of potential pollution source Compare with historical data Compare with Environment Agency data



47 Site two at the Tory Brook Evidence of china clay in the water Evidence that channel may have be altered Site six at the Tory Brook


49 Site one at the River Plym Site two at the River Plym Site four at the River Plym



52 References Bourne Stream BMWP Scoring – measuring Freshwater Quality [online] Available at [Accessed 23rd March 2008] Centre for Ecology & Hydrology RIVPACS (River Invertebrate Prediction and Classification System): an introduction. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 2 nd April 2008] DEFRA Key Facts about: Inland Water Quality and Use, Phosphate Concentrations in rivers: [Online]. Available at: [Accessed 4 th April 2008] Environmental Agency. ND. General Quality Assessment of rivers – biology, [Online] Available at: pdf [Accessed 19 th November 2007] EPA, Biological Indicators of Watershed Health. [Online] (Updated 30 th November 2007) Available at: [Accessed 20 th March 2008] Gainey P Cornish mineral company fined for polluting salmon river. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 4 th April 2008] Hawkes H Technical Note, Origin and Development of the Biological Monitoring Working Party Score System, 32 (4) Pages Martin R Origin of the Biological Monitoring Working Party System, A brief summary, [Online] Available at [Accessed 20 th November 2007]


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