Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2024.171183
Licence creative commons licence
Title (Primary) Citizen science shows that small agricultural streams in Germany are in a poor ecological status
Author von Gönner, J.; Gröning, J.; Grescho, V.; Neuer, L.; Gottfried, B.; Hänsch, V.G.; Molsberger-Lange, E.; Wilharm, E.; Liess, M.; Bonn, A. ORCID logo
Source Titel Science of the Total Environment
Year 2024
Department iDiv; ETOX; BioP
Volume 922
Page From art. 171183
Language englisch
Topic T9 Healthy Planet
T5 Future Landscapes
Keywords Small agricultural streams; European Water Framework Directive monitoring; Pesticide pressure; Citizen science; Macroinvertebrate community composition; Hydromorphology
Abstract Agricultural pesticides, nutrients, and habitat degradation are major causes of insect declines in lowland streams. To effectively conserve and restore stream habitats, standardized stream monitoring data and societal support for freshwater protection are needed. Here, we sampled 137 small stream monitoring sites across Germany, 83 % of which were located in agricultural catchments, with >900 citizen scientists in 96 monitoring groups. Sampling was carried out according to Water Framework Directive standards as part of the citizen science freshwater monitoring program FLOW in spring and summer 2021, 2022 and 2023. The biological indicator SPEARpesticides was used to assess pesticide exposure and effects based on macroinvertebrate community composition. Overall, 58 % of the agricultural monitoring sites failed to achieve a good ecological status in terms of macroinvertebrate community composition and indicated high pesticide exposure (SPEARpesticides status class: 29 % “moderate”, 19 % “poor”, 11 % “bad”). The indicated pesticide pressure in streams was related to the proportion of arable land in the catchment areas (R2 = 0.23, p < 0.001). Also with regards to hydromorphology, monitoring results revealed that 65 % of the agricultural monitoring sites failed to reach a good status. The database produced by citizen science groups was characterized by a high degree of accuracy, as results obtained by citizen scientists and professionals were highly correlated for SPEARpesticides index (R2 = 0.79, p < 0.001) and hydromorphology index values (R2 = 0.72, p < 0.001). Such citizen-driven monitoring of the status of watercourses could play a crucial role in monitoring and implementing the objectives of the European Water Framework Directive, thus contributing to restoring and protecting freshwater ecosystems.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
von Gönner, J., Gröning, J., Grescho, V., Neuer, L., Gottfried, B., Hänsch, V.G., Molsberger-Lange, E., Wilharm, E., Liess, M., Bonn, A. (2024):
Citizen science shows that small agricultural streams in Germany are in a poor ecological status
Sci. Total Environ. 922 , art. 171183 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2024.171183