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GlobalWG 1.7 – Freshwater Bio-surveillance


Indicators of water quality

Chair: Bern Sweeney
Director and President,
Stroud Water Research Center, Avondale, USA

Vice-chair: Ian Hogg
Department of Biological Sciences,
University of Waikato, New Zealand

Scattered and unconnected freshwater environments have fostered great species diversity, with many of these species having narrow distributions. Conservation concerns are elevated because human impacts on freshwater habitats are extreme. Rivers are dammed, small habitats are filled and larger ones are polluted. For these reasons, freshwater organisms are the most endangered assemblage of species on our planet.

Ironically, certain groups of freshwater organisms are also the basis for programs which monitor water quality. Caddisflies (15,000), mayflies (5,000), dragonflies and damselflies (5,000) and stoneflies (5,000) are used in environmental assessment programs around the world.

Despite this fact, there are substantial difficulties in identifying these species, especially their juvenile stages which dominate environmental samples. iBOL is not only developing comprehensive barcode libraries for these indicator groups, it has also begun the barcode registration of other groups of freshwater life.

25,000 species, including:
– 15,000 caddisflies
– 5,000 mayflies
– 5,000 odonates
– 5,000 stoneflies


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