A procedure to update quality indices based on species abundances: an example using the EPI-L diatom index

Submitted: 26 July 2023
Accepted: 27 October 2023
Published: 20 November 2023
Abstract Views: 862
PDF: 166
Supplementary Tab. S1: 41
Supplementary Tab. S2: 39
Publisher's note
All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article or claim that may be made by its manufacturer is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.


We propose a procedure to update ecological quality indices using species autoecology estimated by gradient analysis when new species are found, or taxonomy is updated. When updating an index, the new values must be comparable to the old ones to avoid recalibration and quality class boundary changes. As gradient length influences the values of the species optima, we propose to avoid adding new species to existing lists and we suggest recalibrating the index with a new calibration dataset and rescaling species optima. This final step reduces index updating-induced quality classification changes. An example is shown using the EPI-L diatom index, a quality index for lakes affected by trophic pressure.



PlumX Metrics


Download data is not yet available.


Birk S, Bonne W, Borja A, Brucet S, Courrat A, Poikane S, et al., 2012. Three hundred ways to assess Europe’s surface waters: An almost complete overview of biological methods to implement the Water Framework Directive. Ecol Indic 18:31-41. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2011.10.009
Birk S, Willby NJ, Kelly MG, Bonne W, Borja A, Poikane S, van de Bund W, 2013. Intercalibrating classifications of ecological status: Europe's quest for common management objectives for aquatic ecosystems. Sci Total Environt 454-455:490-499. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.03.037
European Commission, 2000. Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy. OJ L 327, 22.12.2000, p. 1-73. Available from: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32000L0060
European Commission, 2018. Commission Decision (EU) 2018/229 of 12 February 2018 establishing, pursuant to Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, the values of the Member State monitoring system classifications as a result of the intercalibration exercise and repealing Commission Decision 2013/480/EU. OJ L 47, 20.2.2018, p. 1-91. Available from: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32018D0229
Kelly MG, Whitton BA, 1995. The Trophic Diatom Index: a new index for monitoring eutrophication in rivers. J Appl Phycol 7:433-444. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00003802
Marchetto A, 1994. Rescaling species optima estimated by weighted averaging. J Paleolimnol 12:155-162. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00678091
Marchetto A, Bracchi S, Buzzi F, Carena E, Cavalieri S, Cimoli F, et al., 2013. [Indice per valutazione della qualità delle acque lacustri italiane a partire dalle diatomee epifitiche ed epilitiche (EPI-L)], p. 75-92. In: A. Marchetto (ed.), [Indici per la valutazione della qualità ecologica dei laghi]. [Report in Italian]. Report CNR-ISE 02-13. Available from: http://www.vb.irsa.cnr.it/it/wfd
Potapova MG, Charles DF, Ponader HC, Winter DM, 2004. Quantifying species indicator values for trophic diatom indices: a comparison of approaches. Hydrobiologia 517:25-41. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1023/B:HYDR.0000027335.73651.ea
Salmaso N, Morabito G, Buzzi F, Garibaldi L, Simona M, Mosello RT, 2006. Phytoplankton as an indicator of the water quality of the deep lakes south of the Alps. Hydrobiologia 563:167-187. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-005-0003-1
Sgro GV, Reavie ED, Kingston C, Kireta AM, Ferguson MJ, Danz NP, Johansen JR, 2007. A diatom quality index from a diatom-based total phosphorus inference model. Environ Bioindicat 2:15-34. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/15555270701263234
ter Braak CJF, Looman CWN, 1986. Weighted averaging, logistic regression and the Gaussian response model. Vegetatio 65:3-11. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00032121
ter Braak CJF, van Dam H, 1989. Inferring pH from diatoms: a comparison of old and new calibration methods. Hydrobiologia 178:209-223. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00006028
Zelinka M, Marvan P, 1961. [Zur Präzisierung der biologischen Klassifikation der Reinheit fließender Gewässer].[Article in German]. Arch Hydrobiol 57:389-407.

Edited by

Michela Rogora, National Research Council, Water Research Institute (CNR-IRSA), Verbania Pallanza, Italy

Supporting Agencies

National Biodiversity Future Center, Palermo, Italy , Italian National Research Council, Italian Ministry of University and Research

How to Cite

Marchetto, Aldo, and Simona Musazzi. 2023. “A Procedure to Update Quality Indices Based on Species Abundances: An Example Using the EPI-L Diatom Index”. Journal of Limnology 82 (1). https://doi.org/10.4081/jlimnol.2023.2151.

Similar Articles

<< < 1 2 3 4 > >> 

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.