About AQEM

The AQEM assessment system is the main result of the European Union funded project AQEM, which was carried out from March 2000 to February 2002. It serves the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive and provides a system for assessing ecological quality in European streams with benthic macroinvertebrates.

Aims of the AQEM system are:

In contrast to many other comparable projects, the development of the AQEM system has been based on a new dataset covering both the fauna and general stream characteristics of 28 common European stream types.

The AQEM system

As demanded by the Water Framework Directive AQEM applies a stream type-specific approach. Particularly at the European scale this is inevitable, since e.g. an highland stream in Sweden and a lowland stream in Italy are inhabited by very different macroinvertebrate communities.

Therefore, for each stream type different calculation methods are applied based on the comparison with different reference conditions. However, the system always follows the same evaluation scheme and each stream-type specific method fits into the general assessment framework.

This framework can be defined as follows:

AQEM was funded by

The European Commission - Research Directorate-General
5th Framework Programme
Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development
Key Action 1: Sustainable Management and Quality of Water
Contract No: EVK1-CT1999-00027
Duration: March 2000 to February 2002


© 2000-2008 Department of Applied Zoology/Hydrobiology, University Duisburg-Essen, Germany - Last Update 2006-10-10