River Invertebrate Classification Tool.

Davy-Bowker, J., Clarke, R. T., Corbin, T.A., Vincent, H.M., Pretty, J., Hawczak, A., Murphy, J.F. and Jones, I., 2008. River Invertebrate Classification Tool. Technical Report. Edinburgh, Scotland: SNIFFER.

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Abstract

Background to research The Regulatory Agencies in the UK (the Environment Agency; Scottish Environment Protection Agency; and the Environment & Heritage Service) currently use RIVPACS III+ software to classify the ecological quality of rivers. However, because RIVPACS III+ pre-dates the WFD, there has been a requirement to ensure that the RIVPACS reference sites are fully WFD compliant, to add new biotic indices to the RIVPACS models, and to improve the robustness of the RIVPACS software to fully meet the needs of the Agencies in their delivery of WFD monitoring. These issues have been addressed in this project and have led to the development of new RIVPACS IV predictive models that will be programmed into a new River Invertebrate Classification Tool being built by SEPA. This new system will be based on a modern software programming language, be compatible with the agencies’ computer systems and include the ability to predict new biological indices, produce biological status assessments based on these new indices and be able to estimate the errors involved in using these new indices. Because access to the new system will be essential for the UK Agencies to be able to implementation the WFD, the new tool will be readily and freely available to anyone who might seek to use it. Objectives of research • The overall objective of the project was to produce a new set of RIVPACS predictive models for use within a new River Invertebrate Classification Tool that will be used to classify the ecological status of rivers for Water Framework Directive compliance monitoring • The new RIVPACS models constructed with this project required considerably enhanced functionality compared to RIVPACS III+ to properly address the monitoring requirements of the UK Agencies in their implementation of the Water Framework Directive. Key findings and recommendations This project has produced new RIVPACS IV models with considerably enhanced functionality compared to RIVPACS III+. These models incorporate: • A full revision of the taxonomic framework of RIVPACS to bring the taxonomy up-to-date and enable compatiability across the revised Miatland, Furse code and National Biodiversity Network taxon coding systems used across the UK Agencies and beyond • Predictions that fully satisfy the WFD definition of ‘reference condition’ by adjusting predictions for certain stream types and by removal of sites that were not in reference condition when sampled • Allocation of actual abundance values to family level records in the RIVPACS reference data set. Lack of actual abundance data, especially at family level, has affected all versions of RIVPACS and has constrained the types of biotic indices that RIVPACS can predict • Extension to the suite of biotic indices so that the new system can predict a wider range of reference state “expected” index values. This enables full WFD quality reporting capabilities as well as providing the system with the general functionality to predict a much wider range of indices e.g. intercalibration indices (e.g. ICMi), stress-specific indices, and ecological and functional trait indices • Extension of the uncertainty/errors module to estimate and assess uncertainty in (i) assignment to status class and (ii) comparison of samples for temporal change in quality and status. This needs to be done for a wider range of biotic indices (including those incorporating abundance data) These new RIVPACS IV models can be used by the UK Agencies across Great Britain and Northern Ireland in their WFD compliance monitoring. All of the algorithms, variables and data necessary to build these models have been provided to SEPA for programming into a new River Invertebrate Classification Tool that will be disseminated made free of charge to all interested users

Item Type:Monograph (Technical Report)
Subjects:Geography and Environmental Studies
Science > Biology and Botany
Group:School of Applied Sciences > Centre for Conservation, Ecology and Environmental Change
ID Code:16550
Deposited By:Professor Ralph Clarke
Deposited On:19 Oct 2010 10:26
Last Modified:07 Mar 2013 15:38

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