Deliverable 2.20

Abstract: Frame of response modelling and predictive techniques to detect and optimise (functional) indicators.

The biological communities inhabiting inland waters are now facing unprecedented and synergistic pressures, ranging from local to global scale, such as overexploitation, pollution, habitat destruction, species invasions and climate change. These combined pressures are causing a rapid declines in freshwater biodiversity. In this study, aquatic insects are used as indicators for the assessment of sensitivity and potential vulnerability of freshwater ecosystems in European ecoregions. Biological and ecological preferences (i.e. traits) for three orders of aquatic insects – Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and Trichoptera – were investigated, in order to (1) quantify sensitive macroinvertebrate species together with those potentially endangered by changes in water temperatures, (2) analyse the geographical patterns of occurrence of these species at the European scale, and (3) identify bio-ecological traits of aquatic insects that can be used as indicators of sensitivity and vulnerability towards climate change. The comparative approach allowed the detection of geographic gradients in the distribution of sensitivity throughout European ecoregions and the identification of "vulnerability hotspots" for freshwater aquatic insects. The approach highlights bioindicators for potentially endangered stream communities and ecosystems under  climate change scenarios.

This report comprises REFRESH Deliverable 2.20 and provides information about the vulnerability of different stream types to changing climate. The deliverable is in the public domain and will be of interest to ecologists concerned with the impact of climate change on invertebrate communities. The results will also feed into the model development in WP5, providing ecological responses to changing temperatures.

Link http://www.refresh.ucl.ac.uk/webfm_send/1784

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