Bournemouth University

School of Conservation Sciences

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Project to assess the ecological status of European lakes, estuaries and coastal

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Professor Ralph Clarke Professor Ralph Clarke

Prof. Ralph Clarke within the Centre for Conservation Ecology and Environmental Change is part of a consortium of 25 research organisations from 16 European countries who have recently won a European Commission FP7 award for a project called  WISER (Water bodies in Europe: Integrative Systems to assess Ecological status and Recovery). The aim is to develop quantitative systems to assess the ecological condition of European lakes, transitional waters (estuaries) and coastal waters within the requirements of the European Water Framework Directive (WFD). Assessment methods will be developed and tested using standardised sampling of their fish, macro-invertebrates, macro-flora and phytoplankton across a range of water body types and qualities.

Prof. Clarke’s involvement includes advising on sampling design, subsequent estimation of sampling and other uncertainty components for derived biological metrics and developing general software to assess the implications of such methodological uncertainties for confidence of assigning water bodies to WFD ecological status classes (high/good/moderate/poor/bad). This follows on from Ralph’s involvement in a previous European-wide project on rivers bio-assessment called STAR (

Scottish Loch

Algal bloom on a Scottish loch