PBA Applied Ecology
PBA Applied Ecology

Aquatic Macroinvertebrates

PBA Applied Ecology has an experienced team of freshwater macroinvertebrate taxonomists who are able to provide accurate identification to family and species levels at our bespoke in-house freshwater laboratory. This capability ensures that reliable data is available to assess and monitor the condition of freshwater ecosystems which is applicable to a variety of aquatic projects. PBA are competent in a range of field sampling techniques for aquatic macroinvertebrates including standardised kick net samples, sediment grabs and passive colonisers. We also provide a range of biodiversity analyses, such as RICT, to further support your project. 

What services do we offer?

PBA can deploy a wide range of sampling techniques to best suit each site including:

• Standardised 3-minute kick sampling and 1-minute hand search

• Deep water sweep and substrate sampling

• Drift and Surber sampling

• Artificial substrate setting and colonisation sampling

• Family and species level taxonomic identification 

• RICT and RIVPACs community level analysis and interpretation 

Sampling and monitoring approaches

Aquatic macroinvertebrates can be monitored to assess the effects of pollution on water quality. They can be used to identify diffuse and point source pollution including sewage treatment works and agricultural runoff. Once sources of pollution are identified, pollution control and prevention schemes can be put in place and macroinvertebrates used to monitor improvements. They can also be used to identify the impacts of water abstraction and drought.

Family and species lists can be analysed using a suite of indices, which are standard across the industry. For flowing waters these include WHPT, NTAXA, ASPT, LIFE and PSI which can in turn be analysed using the River Invertebrate Classification Tool (RICT) to monitor the ecological quality, in line with Water Framework Directive requirements. In ponds and canals, PYSM and NPS are used to assess the ecological quality.

Aquatic macroinvertebrates are used to assess a range of aquatic habitats and environmental pressures. Where more in-depth understanding is necessary our freshwater ecologists have the experience and analytical capacity to undertake relevant statistical and modelling approaches to inform our understanding of riverine and stillwater ecosystems.

If you have any queries regarding the services your project may require, please contact our Aquatic team specialists.