Biological monitoring of lakes and rivers

Updated 2013-02-02

Program collects data of fresh water phytoplankton, phytobenthos, aquatic invertebrates, fish and plants. It intends to reach sufficient data to assess biological quality of water bodies and monitor their change in time. The program is designed to answer the needs of ecological classification determined by Water Framework Directive. The program is managed by Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE). Regional centres for economic development, transport and the environment (ELY-centre) and Game and Fisheries Research (RKTL) are responsible for the field work. Observations are done in the monitoring of water quality network and in specially designed network for anthropogenically eutrophicated lakes and rivers. Monitoring frequency varies between the locations and measured elements.

This is a National Implementation Plan (NIP) project

Time frame

Project time span
2009 -
Data collection
2009 -
Data processing
2009 -
Data reporting
not specified

Contact information

Contact person
Seppo Hellsten
Finnish Environmental Institute Paavo Havaksen tie 3 90570 Oulu
+358 40 5004999

Parameters and Media

Parameter groups measured/observed/modelled
Biological effects
Media sampled/studied/modelled
Algae (algae, phytoplankton)
Freshwater benthos
Freshwater fish
Plankton (zooplankton)
Additional information or further specification of types of data / information collected, species / tissues / organs sampled, etc.

Parameters measured: phytoplankton biomass, Chlorophyll a content, numbers of taxons, numbers of individuals, relative abundances of taxons, coverage of taxons. Theory and aim of biological monitoring is described in Water Framwork Directive (2000/60/EC). Sampling methods are published only in Finnish in Meissner et al. (2012) .


Regions studied
Stations or areas where observations are made

A number of lakes and river throughout Lapland.

Data availability

Are data archived or planned to be archived at an AMAP Thematic Data Centre?
If no (or only part of data are reported to a TDC), where and how are (other) data stored?
Data is stored by Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE).
References to key publications (or planned publications) and data reports
Phytobenthos Heino, J., Bini, L.M., Karjalainen, S.M., Mykrä, H., Soininen, J. Vieira, L. & Diniz-Filho, J.A. 2010.Geographical patterns of micro-organismal community structure: are diatoms ubiquitously distributed across boreal streams? Oikos 119: 129-137 Lepistö, L., Kauppila, P., Rapala, J., Pekkarinen, M., Sammalkorpi, I. & Villa, L. 2006. Estimation of reference conditions for phytoplankton in a naturally eutrophic shallow lake. Hydrobiologia 568:55-66. Lepistö, L., Holopainen, A.-L., Vuoristo, H. & Rekolainen, S. 2006. Phytoplankton assemblages as a criterion in the ecological classification of lakes in Finland. Boreal Environment Research 11:35-44. Samples/specimens archived in specimen banks? Macrophytes Alahuhta J.,Vuori K.-M & Luoto M. &. 2010: Land use, geomorphology and climate as environmental determinants of littoral helophyte occurrence and percentage cover in boreal catchments. –Boreal Environment Research (in press). Ecke, F., Hellsten, S., Mjelde, M., Kuoppala, M. & S. Schlacke. 2010. Potential conflicts between environmental legislation and conservation exemplified by aquatic macrophytes. Hydrobiologia 656:107–115. Zoobenthos Aroviita, J., Mykrä, H. & Hämäläinen, H. 2010. River bioassessment and the preservation of threatened species: Towards acceptable biological quality criteria. Ecological Indicators 10: 789–795. Aroviita, J. 2009. Predictive models in assessment of macroinvertebrates in boreal rivers. PhD Thesis. Jyväskylä Studies in Biological and Environmental Science 201, 45 p. (109 p.) Aroviita, J., Mykrä, H., Muotka, T. & Hämäläinen, H. 2009. Influence of geographical extent on typology- and model-based assessments of taxonomic completeness of river macroinvertebrates. Freshwater Biology 54: 1774–1787. Aroviita, J., Koskenniemi, E., Kotanen, J. & Hämäläinen, H. 2008. A priori typology-based prediction of benthic macroinvertebrate fauna for ecological classification of rivers. Environmental Management 42: 894–906. Aroviita, J. & Hämäläinen, H. 2008. The impact of water level regulation on littoral macroinvertebrate assemblages in boreal lakes. Hydrobiologia 613: 45–56. Mykrä, H., Aroviita, J., Kotanen, J., Hämäläinen, H. & Muotka, T. 2008. Predicting the stream macroinvertebrate fauna across regional scales: influence of geographical extent on model performance. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 27: 705–716. Vuori K.-M., Uusitalo A. & Kuusela K. 2006: Assessing threat status of stoneflies (Plecoptera) in Finland: species distribution in relation to catchment characteristics and water quality. Verh. Internat. Verein. Limnol. 29: 1711-1714. Liljaniemi P., Vuori K.-M., Ilyashuk B. & Luotonen H. 2002: Habitat characteristics and macroinvertebrate assemblages in headwater streams: relations to catchment silvicultural activities. Hydrobiologia 474, 239-251. Vuori K.-M. & Kukkonen J. 2002: Hydropsychid (Trichoptera, Hydropsychidae) gill abnormalities as morphological biomarkers of stream pollution. -Freshwater Biology 47, 1297-1306. Fish Rask, M., Olin, M. & Ruuhijärvi, J. 2010. Fish based assessment of ecological status of Finnish lakes loaded by diffuse nutrient pollution from agriculture. Fish. Manage. Ecol. 17: 126-133. Sutela, T. & Vehanen, T. 2010. Responses of fluvial fish assemblages to agriculture within the boreal zone. Fish. Manage. Ecol. 17: 141-145. Sutela, T.,Vehanen, T. & Jounela, P. 2010. Response of fish assemblages to water quality in boreal rivers. Hydrobiologia 641: 1-10. Vehanen, T., Sutela, T, & Korhonen, H. 2010. Environmental assessment of boreal rivers using fish data – A contribution to the Water Framework. Fish. Manage. Ecol. 17: 165-175. Sutela, T., Rask, M., Vehanen, T. & Westermark, A. 2008. Comparison of electrofishing and NORDIC gillnets for sampling littoral fish in boreal lakes. Lakes and Reservoirs: Research and Management 13: 215-220. Tammi, J., Rask, M. & Ala-Opas, P. 2006. Ecological classification of Finnish lakes using a multimetric fish index. Verh. Internat. Verein. Limnol. 29: 2276-2278. General Meissner, K., Aroviita, J., Hellsten, S., Järvinen, M., Karjalainen, S.M., Kuoppala, M., Mykrä, H., Vuori, K-M. 2012. Jokien ja järvien biologinen seuranta – näytteenotosta tiedon tallentamiseen. [accessed in 26.10.2012]. Alahuhta J., Vuori K.-M., Hellsten S., Olin M., Järvinen M., Korhonen P., Rask M. & Palomäki A. 2009: Defining the ecological status of small forest lakes using multiple biological quality elements and paleolimnological analysis. -Fundam. Appl. Limnology Vol 175/3: 203-216. Rask M., Vuori K.-M., Järvinen M., Hellsten S., Mykrä H., Arvola L., Hämäläinen H., Jyväsjärvi J., Kolari I., Olin M., Ruuhijärvi J., Salonen E. & Valkeajärvi P. 2010: Ecological classification of large lakes in Finland: comparison of classification approaches using multiple quality elements. Hydrobiologia DOI 10.1007/s10750-010-0384-7. Mykrä, H., Aroviita, J., Hämäläinen, H., Kotanen, J., Vuori, K.-M. & Muotka, T. 2008. Assessing stream condition using macroinvertebrates and macrophytes: concordance of community responses to human impact. Fundamental and Applied Limnology 172: 191–203. Mykrä H., Aroviita J., Hämäläinen H., Karjalainen S.M., Visuri M., Riihimäki J., Miettinen J. & Vuori K.-M. 2009: Validity of a priori river typology for reference conditions of macroinvertebrate
Samples/specimens archived in specimen banks?

Methods & Procedures

Not specified

Additional Information

Is this a bi- AND multi-lateral project (i.e. a project involving cooperation between different countries)?
Other institutes involved in the project

Lapland Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment

Other related projects

Monitoring of Fresh Water Quality

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