WP4 - Sampling design, field and laboratory work
The main objective of WP4 is to provide complete sets of data from reference sites, as well as impacted sites of selected stream types, distributed across the HKH region. The second workshop (WS 2) marks commencement of the field work and will be used to achieve a common understanding of the sampling and sorting (protocols and methodologies). The taxonomic resolution also needs to be harmonised by expert consensus during this workshop. The sampling design will be defined for all investigated stream types based on the results of WPs 2 and 3. The sampling procedure to be used by the partners will be harmonised to achieve data comparability during parallel investigations in the respective HKH countries.
The sampling will provide data for a wide spectrum of evaluation and assessment and allows any degree of precision necessary for the assessment method to be developed (WP5, Tasks 5.2 to 5.4). Comparable data will be collected from sites representing different stages of degradation. All sites will be investigated applying the multi-habitat sampling approach in line with common international standards, in order to receive comparable data from different stream types and from sites representing different stages of degradation. Additional to macroinvertebrate sampling for each site, a comprehensive site protocol containing about 100 sensoric, physical-chemical and hydromorphological parameters, as well as E. coli concentration will be completed to gain comparable information on the ecological status and water usage. The latter data will be used to verify the preclassifications of the sites, which have been used to select the sampling sites in WP 3.
Information on habitat preferences of the individual taxa will be collected and analysed in Task 4.3. In comparison with European field work, less reliable information about habitat preferences, current preferences and other species traits of the occurring taxa is anticipated. Therefore, this dataset is required for filling gaps in the ecological/biological species traits assessment.
Sorting and identification of macroinvertebrate samples will be undertaken in the laboratory using prescriptive procedures in standard manuals, which will be adapted by the ASSESS-HKH partners. Identification will be to the best achievable level, if necessary organism identification with accompanying capacity building sessions held in Workshop 2. The macroinvertebrate and environmental data will be structured and entered into a database.
Description of work
Task 4.1 Define sampling design and harmonisation of field work and identification skills (into a manual): During Workshop 2 all procedures related to the investigation of sites will be harmonised. Starting with existing sampling methods that may be adapted to HKH conditions, consortium members will take samples together in the field to guarantee the most possible comparability of the subsequent parallel-performed field work. The common understanding of the site protocol, as well as laboratory procedures will be exercised and harmonised. Experts will decide on the applied level of taxonomic identification and determination training will be given, if necessary, in WS 2 and optionally also in WS 3. A standard procedure for storing the surveyed field and laboratory data in an Access based database will also be agreed on within this first task.
Task 4.2 Perform sampling and field work: All selected reference (four per stream type ) and impacted sites (four sites of class II and three sites per ecological quality class III-V per stream type) will be investigated according to the agreements and achievements of Task 4.1. This will amount to 170 samples. The samples will be taken in two different seasons (total of samples: 340), primarily by the Asian partners, but guided by the workpackage leader. For all selected sections the same abiotic, morphological, hydrological and physicochemical parameters will be examined. One focus of this research activity lies on the identification and quantification of key biological and ecological parameters important for stream assessment purposes. Beyond this, physicochemical, hydrological and stream morphological parameters will be considered. A site protocol will be used to record parameters relevant to verify the stream type and the state of degradation of the individual sites. It is planned to record approx. 100 parameters from maps and remote sensing data, in the field and by water analyses in the lab. The latter will include chemical and physical parameters as e.g.: N-NH4+, N-NO3-, N-NO2-, PO43-, BOD5, pH, oxygen, total phosphorus, alkalinity, water temperature and conductivity. The data will be used to judge the pollution and other forms of degradation of the individual sites.
Task 4.3 Microhabitat data collection and analysis: During the sampling activity special emphasis will be given on various microhabitat samples for selected stream types. This approach allows scope for further evaluation of macroinvertebrates per microhabitat, which might help to fill the gaps in ecological knowledge regarding for example, the current or microhabitat preferences of taxa. This knowledge again serves as a base for important parts of the assessment system carried out in WP 5.
Task 4.4 Perform laboratory sorting and identification: All sample data will be further processed in the laboratory according to the procedures defined in Task 4.1.
Task 4.5 Storage in the ASSESS-HKH database: All partners will enter the surveyed site characteristics, as well as the macroinvertebrate data into a database.