Using the CABIN Reference and Potential reference database we have developed a flow sensitivity index based on benthic macroinvertebrate taxonomy (Armanini et al., 2010) and we are now working on a number of applications of the tool (i.e. Armanini et al., 2011).
Our knowledge of macroinvertebrate distribution and taxonomy is patchy across Canada, constraining the general applicability of taxonomically-derived indices. Thus we are seeking to develop new approaches: An alternative methodology that shows good potential to cope with geographical constraints is the application of biological traits to derive indicators. We aim to realise the full potential within river management of the trait approach by i) linking traits with environmental gradients (e.g. hydroecological alterations and nutrient enrichment), and ii) expanding and unifying the number and the modalities of traits, as different databases have been compiled including different traits and different codification methods. This approach was recently presented in a special session of IEAM (e.g. Culp et al., 2011).
As part of our activity at Prothea, we are involved in developing a biomonitoring assessment system for temporary rivers in Cyprus and we are partaking in several projects assessing the impact of hydropower production on river ecosystem health.