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Journal Articles Environmental Management Year : 2010

Defining Chlorophyll - a Reference Conditions in European Lakes

E. Hoehn
  • Function : Author
C. de Hoyos
  • Function : Author


The concept of reference conditions' describes the benchmark against which current conditions are compared when assessing the status of water bodies. In this paper we focus on the establishment of reference conditions for European lakes according to a phytoplankton biomass indicator the concentration of chlorophyll-a. A mostly spatial approach (selection of existing lakes with no or minor human impact) was used to set the reference conditions for chlorophyll-a values, supplemented by historical data, paleolimnological investigations and modelling. The work resulted in definition of reference conditions and the boundary between high' and good' status for 15 main lake types and five ecoregions of Europe: Alpine, Atlantic, Central/Baltic, Mediterranean, and Northern. Additionally, empirical models were developed for estimating site-specific reference chlorophyll-a concentrations from a set of potential predictor variables. The results were recently formulated into the EU legislation, marking the first attempt in international water policy to move from chemical quality standards to ecological quality targets.

Dates and versions

hal-02593388 , version 1 (15-05-2020)



Sandra Poikane, M.H. Alves, Christine Argillier, M. van den Berg, F. Buzzi, et al.. Defining Chlorophyll - a Reference Conditions in European Lakes. Environmental Management, 2010, 45 (6), pp.1286-1298. ⟨10.1007/s00267-010-9484-4⟩. ⟨hal-02593388⟩


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