||The objective of the basic tools section was to compile
information on key issues for the method development and to define
the basic principles for the FAME project. This involved including
the status of discussions on WFD implementation in the FAME member
countries. In early 2002, however, when the FAME project started,
the integration and establishment for example of river typologies,
the definition of reference conditions or monitoring was an ongoing
process in most of the countries.
- River types:
According to the WFD, river types must be defined based on abiotic
criteria. Within the FAME project it was agreed to develop, in
a first step, a fish-based typology. In a subsequent step, abiotic
factors as well as the thresholds relevant to discriminate fish
assemblages across ecoregions and Europe were identified. The
results are described in the section “Spatial methods”;
details about the harmonisation and discussion are contained in
about river typology.
- Reference conditions
and pre-classification of sites:
According to the WFD, reference conditions represent sites with
no or only minor human alterations of a water body and must be
described for each river type identified. Thus, criteria relevant
to show possible human alterations from a fish ecological point
of view were selected. The 23 “pressure variables”
finally chosen were used to identify reference sites and pre-classify
sites by human pressures (“pressure status”). Due
to data gaps, the final pre-classification was based on the main
variables addressed in the WFD (hydrology, morphology, connectivity,
nutrients, toxic substances/acidification). Details about the
principles and the selection of variables can be found in the
about the definition of reference conditions as well
as in the reports about the FAME methods (EFI and spatial methods).
- Species classification:
To be able to select and calculate metrics, fish species were
classified into 13 ecological guilds, among them habitat, feeding,
reproduction, migration or tolerance. Altogether, 42 criteria
were used for the classification. Moreover, the status of all
fish species as either native or alien in 41 main river regions
(= hydrological units) was identified. Forty-five fish species
were selected as sentinel species for age-length analyses. For
details see report
about species classification and species
- Metrics selection
The final metrics list was defined based on the species classification.
A total of about 450 potential metrics were calculated in order
to test their response to different human pressures: 12 for overall
composition, nearly 200 for functional guild characteristics (16
criteria variously divided among 6 ecological guilds: reproduction,
migration, tolerance, feeding, habitat, longevity), and 5 metrics
for each of the 45 sentinel species. Metrics refer either to absolute
or relative number of species, to density or to biomass of species.
Overall fish community composition and functional metrics were
calculated separately for native and all species (i.e. native
and alien species). For details see report
about metrics selection.
- Standardized sampling
Electric fishing was the only common sampling method in all FAME
countries. A standardized sampling procedure was defined for electric
fishing in wadable as well as non-wadable rivers. The basis was
the CEN standard “Fishing with electricity” (EN 14011).
For details see report
about the standardized sampling procedure.