Ecological river assessment
Using benthic macroinvertebrates as bioindicators for assessing the ecological status of rivers and streams is widely accepted and represents state of the art in Europe and North America, Australia and South Africa, as well as gaining increasing importance in some areas of the HKH region. These organisms inhabit the bottom substrates (inorganic sediments, debris, logs, macrophytes, filamentous algae, etc.) of freshwater streams and rivers and are large enough to be seen without magnification. Generally, due to their large number of species and their wide range of systematic origin (e.g. worms, molluscs, crayfish and insects) benthic macroinvertebrates are capable of reflecting different human-induced deteriorations: organic pollution, acidification, habitat modification and overall stream degradation and disturbances. Therefore, they enable a comprehensive assessment of streams and rivers.