Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Non-indigenous macroinvertebrate species in Lithuanian fresh waters, Part 2: Macroinvertebrate assemblage deviation from naturalness in lotic systems and the consequent potential impacts on ecological quality assessment.

Abstract

The biological pressure represented by non-indigenous macroinvertebrate species (NIMS) should be addressed in the implementation of EU Water Framework Directive as this can have a direct impact on the 'naturalness' of the invaded macroinvertebrate assemblage. The biocontamination concept allows assessment of this deviation from naturalness, by evaluation of abundance and disparity contamination of an assemblage. This study aimed to assess the biocontamination of macroinvertebrate assemblages in Lithuanian rivers, thereby revealing the most high-impact non-indigenous species, and to explore the relationship between biocontamination and conventional metrics of ecological quality. Most of the studied rivers appeared to be impacted by NIMS. The amphipods Pontogammarus robustoides, Chelicorophium curvispinum and snail Litoglyphus naticoides were revealed as high-impact NIMS for Lithuanian lotic systems. Metrics of ecological quality which largely depend upon the richness of indicator taxa, such as the biological monitoring working party (BMWP) score and Ephemeroptera/Plecoptera/Trichoptera (EPT) taxa number, were negatively correlated with biocontamination, implying they could provide unreliable ecological quality estimates when NIMS are present. Routine macroinvertebrate water quality monitoring data are sufficient for generation of the biocontamination assessment and thus can provide supplementary information, with minimal extra expense or effort. We therefore recommend that biocontamination assessment is included alongside established methods for gauging biological and chemical water quality.