Interpretation of the invertebrate-based BMWP-PL index in a gravel-bed river: insight from the polish Carpathians

Bartłomiej Wyżga , Paweł Oglęcki , Hanna Hajdukiewicz , Joanna Zawiejska , Artur Radecki-Pawlik , Tomasz Skalski , Paweł Mikuś


Like its British prototype (Biological Monitoring Working Party score system), the Polish benthic invertebrate-based BMWP-PL index is commonly regarded as an indicator of river water quality. This interpretation of the index has been verified in a study of the gravel-bed Biała River. Benthic macroinvertebrates were sampled at 10 sites and compared in one channelized and one unmanaged cross-section per site. The resulting taxa richness and BMWP-PL index scores were compared with water quality and physical habitat characteristics in the cross-sections. Channelized and unmanaged cross-sections clearly differed in their physical habitat conditions, and water quality characteristics mostly varied in the downstream direction. Particular cross-sections hosted between 3 and 26 invertebrate taxa, with the respective BMWP-PL scores indicating the water in the surveyed cross-sections varied between high and poor quality. However, the BMWP-PL scores were unrelated to physicochemical characteristics of the river water, which consistently pointed to high water quality. Instead, the scores were significantly related to several physical habitat variables, with the number of low-flow channels in a cross-section explaining the largest proportion of the variance in the index values. The relationship of the scores with the complexity of flow pattern in the river and a lack of their dependence on physicochemical water characteristics show that the BMWP-PL index should not be regarded as an indicator of water quality but rather as an indicator of the ecological status of rivers, dependent both on their hydromorphological and water-quality characteristics.
Author Bartłomiej Wyżga
Bartłomiej Wyżga,,
, Paweł Oglęcki
Paweł Oglęcki,,
, Hanna Hajdukiewicz
Hanna Hajdukiewicz,,
, Joanna Zawiejska
Joanna Zawiejska,,
, Artur Radecki-Pawlik (FoEEaLS / DoHEaG)
Artur Radecki-Pawlik,,
- Department of Hydraulic Engineering and Geotechnics
, Tomasz Skalski
Tomasz Skalski,,
, Paweł Mikuś
Paweł Mikuś,,
Journal seriesHydrobiologia, ISSN 0018-8158, (A 30 pkt)
Issue year2013
Publication size in sheets0.85
Keywords in EnglishMacroinvertebrates, BMWP-PL index, Water quality, Physical habitat conditions, Gravel-bed river
Internal identifierWIŚIG/2013/38
Languageen angielski
Score (nominal)30
ScoreMinisterial score = 30.0, 26-07-2017, ArticleFromJournal
Ministerial score (2013-2016) = 30.0, 26-07-2017, ArticleFromJournal
Citation count*20 (2016-07-05)
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* presented citation count is obtained through Internet information analysis and it is close to the number calculated by the Publish or Perish system.
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