Title of the workshop: Water quality in freshwater streams: ecology, biodiversity and biomonitoring – innovative concepts and capacity building



Dr. Armin Lorenz

University of Duisburg-Essen, Aquatic Ecology; Germany 


Dr. Alexander Weigand

University of Duisburg-Essen, Aquatic Ecosystem Research, Germany

Mr. Arne Beermann

Ph.D. Candidate, University of Duisburg-Essen, Aquatic Ecosystem Research, Germany

Prof. Masoumeh Malek

School of Biology, College of Science, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


Workshop Aims 

On the global but even regional or local perspective, water bodies are frequently affected by multiple stressors. Not always those stressors can be readily identified. A first hint can be provided by the aquatic invertebrate community composition, which has been shown to be shaped by water conditions, whereas others are very habitat-specific and only occur under certain environmental conditions. The latter, in particular, can be used as ecological indicator species for river assessment systems.

In 2000, the European Water Framework Directive was implemented. One goal is to have all surface water bodies in a good ecological condition until 2021. Therefore, the ecological status of all water bodies has to be measured and the development tracked. One major biological parameter which has to be investigated for this assessment is the aquatic invertebrate fauna. To achieve this, specimens have to be sampled in a comparable way, identified to the most precise taxonomic level (often family to species) and standardized indices calculated and evaluated. Taxa thereby are generally identified by morphological characters. However, juvenile specimen or specific genders often cannot be unambiguously linked to a single taxonomic name. For these, the implementation of DNA barcodes is presented. In this approach, short and standardized DNA fragments are generated from vouchers, i.e. morphologically identified specimens up to the species level, often conducted by respective experts. DNA barcodes are then stored in a reference library, allowing the comparison of the genetic sequence of “unknown” individuals against the database. Advantages and disadvantages of this approach will be discussed in this workshop.

Specific focus within the EU WFD and many water quality assessment systems worldwide is laid on the presence of three taxonomic groups: Ephemeroptera (mayflies), plecoptera (stone-flies) and Trichoptera (caddisflies), commonly known as EPT-taxa. Species of these three orders are often very sensitive to water quality deterioration and thus have a high ecological indication potential. While most Plecoptera and many Ephemeroptera are bound to fast flowing and cold water streams and rivers, Trichoptera demonstrate a much wider range of habitats, i.e. inhabiting streams and rivers of all sizes and with many species also being found in more stagnant waters (ponds, lakes and wetlands). Their ecological niches are wide in comparison to the other two groups which makes them good indicator taxa for a wide variety of water bodies. Many researchers have sampled Trichoptera worldwide. Thus the geographical distribution is known for many species but there are still gaps particularly in the Middle East. Furthermore, as morphological differentiation is in some genera very difficult, a genetic analysis could solve many problems. DNA barcoding would be of a great advantage, giving an existing DNA barcode reference library which so far is most likely lacking.



Link between aquatic community composition and water condition – Why can it work 

Overview of aquatic invertebrate taxa 

Implementation of European Water Framework Directive (WFD) 

WFD Criteria (saproby index, abundance and presence data)

How to identify species? Morphological investigations and DNA barcodes 


Role of EPT taxa in EU WFD

Diversity and distribution of Trichoptera in Iran

Diversity and distribution of Trichoptera at the junction of Asia, Africa and Europe

Ecological biomonitoring potential of Trichoptera

DNA barcodes of Trichoptera – introduction to BOLD

Duration: 3 hours

For workshop registration, please contact conference secretary, Dr. Masoumeh Ghodrati via email address of mghodrati@ut.ac.ir or call +98 21 61112797.