New call for long-term fish, macrophyte, benthic algae, and macroinvertebrate data from European freshwater ecosystems (streams, rivers, ponds, lakes)  

Dear colleague,

Encouraged by the great response to our last call for European benthic invertebrate long-term data from streams resulting in almost 2,000 time series from 22 European countries, we aim to repeat our endeavor now focusing on European freshwater fish, macrophyte, benthic algae (i.e., diatoms and non-diatom benthic algae), and macroinvertebrate data from streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes.

In this new collaborative study, we aim to (a) compile a comprehensive dataset by incorporating different individual studies and (b) to disentangle the major patterns and drivers of long-term trends in fish, macrophyte, benthic algae, and macroinvertebrate assemblages using various taxonomic and functional diversity metrics, species traits, and comprehensive environmental variables. In combination with the already existing stream macroinvertebrate time series, we further aim at analyzing overall Water Framework Directive (WFD) assessment results across Europe.

a) Compiling long-term fish, macrophyte, benthic algae, and macroinvertebrate data from European freshwater ecosystems (streams, rivers, ponds, lakes)

While some data have already been published, we believe there are much more, so far unexplored data sources that we would like to mobilize with this call to the European freshwater and eLTER community.

These data need to fulfill the following requirements:

  • Minimum length of time series: 10 years
  • Minimum number of sampling years: 5
  • Sampling location of the respective taxa group did not change over time (but may vary between taxa groups)
  • No change in sampling method, season (= any three consecutive months) and taxonomic resolution over the observation period
  • Taxa lists with abundance data (abundance, relative abundance, coverage, etc.)
  • Identification: mainly species level (for macroinvertebrates also genus/family level)

b) Potential analyses

  • First, we will investigate a suite of taxonomic and trait diversity metrics for each time series and second, apply a meta-analytic approach to identify patterns across all the datasets (e.g. to investigate how communities change over time and to which extent changes in taxonomic community composition are mirrored by changes in trait composition).
  • Second, we will use the taxa lists to conduct a WFD compliant assessment of all taxa groups, including an overall assessment.
  • Third, we will calculate trajectories of trends.
  • Fourth, we will test the robustness of our results by applying sensitivity analyses to account for the most likely unbalanced design (e.g., uneven data distribution across Europe)
  • We will use complemented by other databases especially for fish and diatoms as an important source for trait analyses (zonation, habitat requirements, temperature, dispersal, …)
  • We will use a large set of environmental variables provided by global catchment models (e.g., Amatulli, G. et al. Hydrography90m: a new high-resolution global hydrographic dataset. Preprint at to each sampling location and year to investigate potential drivers of change.
  • And there will be many follow-up studies focusing on e.g. community composition, single species, rarity, etc.

If you do have long-term fish, macrophyte, benthic algae (i.e., diatoms and non-diatom benthic algae), or macroinvertebrate data that fulfill the above-described criteria and you are interested to join our initiative, please send your data to not later than 31st December 2023 using this template: Long_term_data_template.xlsx. We offer co-authorship to all data providers. We aim to publish the results in journals with high impact factors. Please, be aware that today most journals have an “open data policy”. This means that we need to publish your raw data if our manuscript(s) will become accepted.

Looking forward to working together with all of you and please distribute this call widely! Alternatively to send this email to other colleagues you may simply use this link:

Best wishes,

Peter Haase, Núria Bonada, Jörg Freyhof, Jani Heino, Daniel Hering, Ralf Schäfer, Stefan Schmutz, Susi Schneider

P.S.: To those who have already sent stream macroinvertebrate data in response to our previous call from 2020: no need to re-send your data, but if you have an update and/or additional data (due to the slightly modified requirements): please send these data!