Climate change interferes with our use of animals to judge water quality
What is it about?
I analysed an extensive dataset of British dragonfly and damselfly (known collectively as the “Odonata”) sightings to look for a pattern of geographical movement since 1960. Dragonflies and damselflies are an important group in biological water quality monitoring, as they are particularly sensitive to pollution. I found that the patterns of water quality that would be detected using Odonata at a generic site would appear to change over time with the changes in Odonata communities, independent of any changes in water quality.
Why is it important?
Biological communities are used extensively in the monitoring of freshwaters and this research emphasises the need to take distributional shifts that occur as a result of climate change into account when using this method. It is likely that water quality is improving, with better treatment of wastewater and better enforcement of environmental regulation, but accurate monitoring is the key to continuing improvement. Secondly, this paper demonstrates once more the fact that Odonata are responding to climate change.
The following have contributed to this page: Dr Christopher Hassall
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