A biotic index of fish integrity (IBIP) to evaluate the ecological quality of lotic ecosystems - application to the Meuse River Basin (Belgium)


In Europe, water policy is currently subjected to considerable changes in line with the recent European Water Framework Directive (WFD - 2000/60/EC), which requires the assessment of their hydro-morphological, chemical and biological characteristics for the restoration and maintenance of "healthy" aquatic ecosystems. Compared to previous policies, the WFD gives strong priority to biological quality goals by introducing measurements of aquatic biota necessary to identify the structural and functional integrity of ecosystems. Furthermore, the WFD introduces river basin management throughout Europe, which could have major impacts on the conservation and restoration of aquatic systems.

The ecological quality of an aquatic ecosystem is based on the spatiotemporal integration of the different physical, chemical and biological components. In order to improve the protection, the long term use and the adequate monitoring of the aquatic ecosystems, it is required to identify and take into account some global metrics, complementary to those used in traditional water quality assessment. Among the potential bio-indicators, fish exhibit several characteristics (presence at different levels of the trophic chain, long life, aptitude to integrate environmental alterations occurring at different levels of the aquatic ecosystem, sensitivity to habitat degradation), providing original and complementary information to those already available from other organisms.


abiotic parameters, indicators of ecological quality, water courses, ecology, ichthyology, fish populations, index of biotic integrity, IBI, aquatic, fresh water, limnology, hydrology, electric fishing, benthos, benthic, spatio-temporal distibution, Ecology, Habitat management, restoration, Limnology and hydrobiology, Streams, running waters, Conservation, Restoration and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity, W-Europe, Belgium, Wallonia, river Maas, river Meuse, River Meuse Basin, Metazoa, Vertebrata, Pisces, Cypriniformes, Cobitidae, Cobitis taenia, Misgurnus fossilis, Nemacheilus barbatulus, Scorpaeniformes, Cottidae, Cottus gobio


Belgium {Geographical scope}
Inland Waters {Habitat type}


Name Role Start End
Micha, Jean-Claude promotor
Kestemont, Patrick co-promotor
Breine, Jan co-promotor


Name Role Start End
Wildbeheer unknown
Unité de recherche en biologie des organismes member


Reference Role
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created:2011-12-14 14:18:59 UTC, source:biodiv

© 2012 by the Belgian Biodiversity Platform