General description and milestones
The project consists of 7 workpackages (WP):
WP1 Basic Tools,
WP2 Data Acquisition and Management,
WP3 Pressure Analyses and New Metrics Development,
WP4 Fish Index Development,
WP7 Consortium Management.
In WP1 - Basic Tools - existing knowledge and available
information is reviewed and type of fish, environmental and pressure
data to be collected in WP2 is defined. This is an important step
as already during the first 2 months it is decided what kind of
data will be collected and analysed in the entire project. The fish
data are the fundamental basis to develop the new European Fish
Index (EFI). The fish data derived from existing field samples are
transformed into so-called “metrics” i.e. quantitative
criteria describing the main characteristics of the fish fauna.
Reference metrics of unimpacted conditions are predicted by environmental
descriptors using multiple regression models. An independent pressure
index is computed for each sampling site by combining main pressures.
The reaction of the metrics to the pressure index is tested and
metrics reacting are combined to a fish index. The fish index is
calibrated against the pressure index and scored into 5 status classes
according to the Water Framework Directive.
The objective of WP2 - Data Acquisition and Management
– is to assemble necessary data and to integrate all data
in a central database. Data on fish (fish samples, guild classification,
potential metrics), natural and anthropogenic descriptors as defined
in WP1 are collected and checked and put into a relational database.
Fish data are derived from existing field samples already collected
by partners or cooperating institutions in participating countries.
Additional historical data of original distribution of diadromous
species are assembled.
WP3 deals with Pressure Analyses and New Metrics
Development. Human pressures are analysed and interrelation among
pressures are identified. Based on this knowledge a global pressure
index is computed. The global pressure index is used to separate
reference from disturbed sites and to calibrate the index in WP4.
Another objective of WP 3 is to evaluate the capacity of the present
EFI to correctly assess Mediterranean, Large Floodplain and Central/Eastern
Rivers, using the data collected in WP2 in order to identity existing
gaps. The next step is the identification and the development of
new candidate metrics. The FAME guild classification determining
functional metrics (e.g. rheophilic, lithophilic, insectivorous)
will be re-evaluated and adapted according to the response of fish
species to pressures. Based on the updated guild classification
new candidate metrics are defined for hydromorphological and continuity
pressures and for Central/Eastern, Mediterranean, Large Floodplain
and Low Species Rivers.
The WP4 – Fish Index Development - is the
core workpackage of the EFI+ project and provides the new European
Fish Index. The first task is to develop reference models: Reference
sites are used to develop statistical models which allow prediction
of a “theoretical” metric value at a site as a function
of natural environmental factors (climate, river morphology, hydrology,
...), sampling strategy and a river basin classification based on
native fish fauna similarities. Reference models, obtained for each
metric, will be applied in the next step on data sets of disturbed
sites, allowing us to quantify the amount of deviation between the
reference and disturbed sites. The ability of each selected metric
to discriminate between different types of degradation (e.g. water
quality alterations, habitat alterations, connectivity alteration)
in different European regions (Northern, Western, Eastern, Mediterranean)
will be tested. After that the new EFI is evaluated with an independent
data set and a sensitivity analyses is performed.
In WP5 – Implementation- a software and manual
will be developed and made available to the public via the project
web-site to enable wide use of the new index. The new index will
be used in a case study, the Joint Danube Survey of the International
Commission for Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) to test its
applicability and practicability with new data.
In WP6 – Dissemination - End User Workshops
are planned in cooperation with the ECOSTAT working group and the
ICPDR to reach potential end-users for the new index and to build
up the capacity to use the developed index outside the EFI+ consortium,
in particulate in Central/Eastern countries. The old EFI will be
presented at the first workshop at the beginning, the new one at
the second workshop at the end of the project. Finally, an international
conference will be hosted at the end of the project to present results
to scientific community, administration and stakeholders. Dissemination
also includes development and maintenance of the project web site.
Preparation of scientific publications and external presentation
will take place in WP 6. Another task deals with the future exploitation
of the achieved results of the EFI+ project. In order to guarantee
sufficient end-user involvement an Advisory Group will be implemented
at the beginning of the project.
WP7 – Consortium Management- deals with the
administration of the scientific and financial issues of the project.