THE USE OF MACROINVERTEBRATES IN BIOMONITORING AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS
Keywords:Communities, water ecological quality, biomonitoring, macroinvertebrates.
The usual chemical procedures to analyse water samples yield information only concerning the water state on the moment of collection, thus short term contamination generally are left undetected. Moreover, this mode of analysis is not sensitive to physical alterations to habitats in aquatic ecosystems, since habitat evaluations do not depend on the simple chemical quality of local waters. This way, the integrity of the targeted ecosystem cannot be guessed from chemical and physical water quality. A more comprehensive evaluation of the health state of a given aquatic ecosystem can be obtained from the characterization of organisms that living therein. Currently, benthic macroinvertebrates (usually aquatic insects) are widely used in evaluations of ecological water quality in association with biological monitoring tools. In the present revision, we presented some traits of macroinvertebrates and how macroinvertebrate communities are used as bioindicators in association with biological monitoring tools. We focused on four methodologies, being three of which widely used in many countries in national, regional or local biological monitoring programs: Biotic Index, Predictive Models, Multimetrics Index, and a fourth methodology still under construction with great potential of application named Biological and Ecological Traits.