Research interests

Development of methods for assessing the ecological status of rivers and lakes category water bodies based on macroinvertebrates in Lithuania. Development of new macroinvertebrate indicators sensitive to stressors, considering conditions specific to the type of surface water bodies. Evaluation and integration of functional characteristics of macroinvertebrate taxa into indicators of ecological status assessment methods after determining their usefulness for assessment accuracy. Establishment of reference and ecological status class thresholds for macroinvertebrate indicators.

Annotation of the dissertation

During the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) implementation, methods for assessing the ecological status of surface water bodies using macroinvertebrates were developed in Lithuania. These are macroinvertebrate multimetric indices for rivers and lakes. These methods considered the local conditions of Lithuania – the macroinvertebrate taxonomic composition and abundance in surface waters, and climate. This was the first step in assessing the quality of surface water bodies, where a single multimetric index is used for different types of rivers or lentic water bodies. This work aims to develop more accurate and robust methods for assessing the ecological quality of surface waters. This will be achieved by considering the specificity of different water body types. For different water body types, the most sensitive to anthropogenic stressors macroinvertebrate indicators will be selected and tested, and then the most informative multimetric index will be constructed. Further, the reference values for composite indicators of multimetric indices will be established, and threshold values for status quality class boundaries will be determined. Another novel aspect would be the integration of functional attributes of macroinvertebrate taxa into the assessment of ecological status. The development and testing of macroinvertebrate indicators specific to different water body types will be carried out using data from the national monitoring of the status of surface waters in Lithuania and information collected in the Laboratory of Evolutionary Ecology of Hydrobionts.

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