Typifying macrofaunal communities of larger disturbed waters in The Netherlands

Piet F.M. Verdonschot*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


1. A survey was carried out in rivers, canals and large lakes in the province of Overijssel (The Netherlands) to describe the macrofauna assemblages and their environment. A total of 74 environmental variables was measured at each sampling site. The aim was to describe a typology of large‐sized water bodies for this region. 2. Different techniques of multivariate analysis were used in combination with ecological information on individual taxa to derive and describe site groups in terms of taxon composition and mean environmental conditions. The resulting site groups were termed cenotypes. 3. Nine cenotypes were distinguished. They showed great similarity in their composition of ubiquitous taxa and in environmental conditions. This similarity is, in part, due to anthropogenic influences. The large‐sized water bodies are mostly regulated or canalized and function as collectors of nutrients, organic material and toxicants. This results in cumulative chronic stresses which overrule the natural key factors of current and dimension. 4. Despite the similarity, differences between taxon assemblages could be attributed to combinations of key environmental factors; some taxa characteristic of the reach of a river or the gradient in size of canals were still present. 5. The typology offers a basis for practical use in regional water management and nature conservation. Some applications for water management are indicated. 6. Typological studies are vital (especially in semi‐natural landscapes) for an improvement in understanding, management and conservation of freshwater biota.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-242
Number of pages20
JournalAquatic conservation: marine and freshwater ecosystems
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1992
Externally publishedYes

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