, Volume 636, Issue 1, pp 379–392 | Cite as

Relevance of abiotic criteria used in German lake typology for macroinvertebrate fauna

Primary research paper


For lake characterisation, top-down typologies are mostly used throughout Europe, including type criteria such as climate, lake area, catchment geology and conductivity. In Germany, a lake typology was applied comprising ecoregion, calcium concentration, Schindler’s ratio, stratification type and residence time. However, the relevance of these criteria for the macroinvertebrate fauna has not been conclusively demonstrated till now. Benthic invertebrate community data and related environmental parameters of pristine or near-pristine lakes in Germany were analysed by multivariate analysis techniques to elucidate which environmental parameters are reflected by invertebrate composition. Moreover, benthic invertebrate data were transformed to metrics expressing ecological attributes and species richness (summarising functional composition, diversity and sensitivity measures). Multivariate statistics were used to test whether information relevant to ordination was lost and whether variation decreases using metrics which combine data with ecological attributes. Analysis of lake-type criteria revealed that ecoregions and prevailing substrates were characterized by different taxonomic compositions of macroinvertebrates. In addition, a relationship was found between community composition and lake size. Creating a novel bottom-up lake typology based on ecoregions, lake size and prevailing substrate gives better separation of distinct macroinvertebrate communities and a higher level of homogeneity within groups compared to top-down typology or single environmental parameters alone, both on species and metrics data. Despite some data variation due to methodological differences (e.g. different sampling and sorting techniques) and interannual and seasonal variation in the data set, NMDS ordination presented well-separated groups of bottom-up lake types. Lake types were more precisely separated by species data than by metric data in both top-down and bottom-up typology. However, as information loss from species lists to calculated metrics is marginal, type-specific benthic invertebrate assemblages are reflected both on the species level and on the metric level. Species and metric data are both suitable for data ordination, while single environmental parameters affecting macroinvertebrate composition can best be obtained using metrics.


Bottom-up typology Ecological lake classification Invertebrate composition Metrics Multivariate analysis 



We thank Johannes Steidle for his helpful comments on the manuscript. Data collection was partly supported within a project for lake assessment using macroinvertebrate community structure by the Bund/Länder-Arbeitsgemeinschaft Wasser (LAWA). The submitted version of the manuscript was considerably improved, thanks to the advice of two unknown referees.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Ecopreneurship, School of Life SciencesUniversity of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW)MuttenzSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of Animal Ecology, Institute of ZoologyUniversity of HohenheimStuttgartGermany
  3. 3.Department of Water ResearchInstitute of Hygiene and EnvironmentHamburgGermany

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