Title: Phosphorus reference concentrations in European lakes 
Resource Type: document --> technical publication --> journal article 
Country: European Union 
Year: 2007 
Availability: Hydrobiologia 584 (1) 3-12 
Author 1/Producer: REBECCA Consortium 
Other Authors/Producers: A. C. Cardoso, A. Solimini, G. Premazzi, L. Carvalho, A. Lyche and S. Rekolainen 
Author / Producer Type: EC Project 
Article Weblink (=direct link): http://www.springerlink.com/content/8532047l27080378/  
EUGRIS Keyword(s): Water and sanitation-->Pollution
Water resources and their management -->Stresses, quality and ecological status
Short description: European water legislation, the Water Framework Directive (WFD), requires environmental objectives to be set for certain chemicals, as part of the assessment of the ecological quality of surface waters. In this context, many European countries have chosen to develop a quality classification scheme for total phosphorus (TP) concentration, as a relatively simple measure of water quality. The assessment of ecological quality and its component parts, such as TP, must be based on the degree of divergence of a water body from an appropriate baseline or ‘reference condition’. For this reason, it is important to determine TP reference concentrations for all lake types or alternatively, models for predicting reference TP concentrations on a site-specific basis. As a part of the EU-funded REBECCA research project, European researchers have recently derived lake-type specific reference conditions for TP based on a large dataset of more than 500 European reference lakes. The authors also explored the possible relationship between TP concentration and potential predictor variables (depth, alkalinity, humic type, altitude, area, and geographical region) or combinations of these variables, in order to develop models for predicting reference TP concentrations in European lakes on a site-specific basis. The results suggest that TP concentrations vary with lake type and geographical region. TP increased with colour and alkalinity and decreased with lake depth and altitude. There was no clear relationship between TP and lake area. Altitude, mean depth, and alkalinity were selected as independent explanatory variables for the prediction of site-specific reference TP concentrations, with different models developed for humic and non-humic lakes. A simpler site-specific predictive model based solely on the Morphoedaphic Index (a combination of a site’s alkalinity and mean depth) was also shown to be comparably effective. Overall, this study provides new information to help establish TP reference concentrations in lakes, which is important as phosphorus plays a key role in primary productivity limitation in these ecosystems. The predictive strength of the models presented in the study is relatively high in comparison with other approaches for setting reference conditions. The large TP dataset for European lakes assembled by the authors provides excellent reference information. It not only constitutes an important bank of information for lake water quality management but is also likely to be particularly valuable in the future, as predicted climate change is forecast to impact on lake ecosystems. 
Submitted By: Professor Paul Bardos WhoDoesWhat?      Last update: 29/06/2007

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