Improvement and Spatial extension of the European Fish Index (EFI+)

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Summary Workpackages Timetable



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,
WP5 Implementation,
WP6 Dissemination,
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.


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