Freshwater Information Platform


Database history

The database contains taxonomic and ecological information and is a "living document". It was first set up for the purposes of the EU funded AQEM project (», which aimed at the development and testing of an integrated assessment system for the ecological quality of rivers throughout Europe using benthic macro-invertebrates. The eight project member countries (Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden) developed a multimetric assessment system for different stream types, which is applicable through a computer software (ASTERICS assessment software, to be downloaded at » As the assessment system requires ecological information on the taxa it was essential to gather information on both, taxa occurrence within the partner countries and ecological information on these taxa for a consistent and reliable database. The following steps were performed:

In the succeeding EU funded STAR project (» that aimed for the standardisation of river classifications, the AQEM macro-invertebrate taxa and autecology database was extended with national checklists from Denmark, France, Great Britain, Latvia, Poland and Slovakia. Furthermore, additional ecological parameters were included.

The database was then further improved within the EU funded project Euro-limpacs (», which dealt with the evaluation of impacts of Climate Change on European freshwater ecosystems. The focus of the database work during Euro-limpacs was to compile information on parameters, which are of relevance for assessing the impact of climate change on freshwater inhabiting organisms. These cover data on ecoregional distribution (e.g., taxa in high mountain areas may be particularly sensitive), life cycle parameters (e.g., increased water temperature may particularly effect species hatching in spring), temperature preferences or current preferences (e.g., current resistance might be important, if discharge patterns will change in future). Steps within Euro-limpacs:

After that the database was mainly powered by the EU funded project WISER (» To achieve recent European policy targets WISER has developed tools for integrated assessment of the ecological status of European surface waters (rivers, lakes, marine ecosystems) with different biological quality elements (fish, macro-invertebrates, macropyhtes, phytoplankton). Macrophyte and phytobenthos taxalists, both originating from the EU funded Rebecca project (» as well as ecological information regarding these two groups were added and complemented. Further, two different tools were developed:

Information about how to use these tools can be found in the help section (» How to use the database/How to use the TET and » How to use the database/How to use the TVT). For detailed query explanations see » How to use the database and for explanations on the terms and abbreviations used see » Abbreviations.

During recent years two other EU funded projects, REFRESH (» and BioFresh (» were the main money sources to keep the database alive. During these projects ecological data on Odonata were collected and information on several existing organism groups was extended. To easily get an overview which ecological information is avialable for which organism group we added an information-icon for each parameter and an additonal content overview page (» Content overview).

With version 7 we offer to access another important trait database established by Henri Tachet (Tachet H., Bournaud M., Richoux P. & Usseglio-Polatera P. (2010): Invertébrés d'eau douce - systématique, biologie, écologie. CNRS Editions, Paris, 600 p.) through

« top

Current developments and future activities

Currently the maintainance of the database is supported through the MARS project (» is a member of the Freshwater Information Platform (»

Future amendments of will include:
« top

Access and citation

At present, there are two levels of accesss for

If you want to become a please go to » Registration for your personal login.

Please consult » Terms of use (citation) and » Experts for details about usage, responsible persons and correct citations.

« top