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Annu Rev Entomol. 2006;51:495-523.

Developments in aquatic insect biomonitoring: a comparative analysis of recent approaches.

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  • 1CNRS UMR5023, Ecologie des Hydrosystèmes Fluviaux, UniversitĂ© Lyon 1, Villeurbanne, France.


Aquatic insects and other benthic invertebrates are the most widely used organisms in freshwater biomonitoring of human impact. Because of the high monetary investment in freshwater management, decisions are often based on biomonitoring results, and a critical and comparative review of different approaches is required. We used 12 criteria that should be fulfilled by an "ideal" biomonitoring tool, addressing the rationale, implementation, and performance of a method. After illustrating how the century-old but still widely used Saprobian system does not meet these criteria, we apply them to nine recent approaches that range from the suborganismal to the ecosystem level. Although significant progress has been made in the field, no recent approach meets all 12 criteria. Given that the use of biomonitoring information has important financial consequences, we suggest that societies and governments prioritize how these criteria should be ranked.

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