The Development and Testing of an Integrated Assessment System for the Ecological Quality of Streams and Rivers throughout Europe using Benthic Macroinvertebrates. Acronym: AQEM

The AQEM assessment system is the main result of the European Union funded project AQEM, which was carried out from March 2000 to February 2002.

It serves the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive and provides a system for assessing ecological quality in European streams with benthic macroinvertebrates.

Aims of the AQEM system are:

  • to classify a stream stretch in a quality class from 5 (high) to 1 (bad) based on a macroinvertebrate taxa list
  • to give information about the cause of a possible degradation to help direct future management practices.

In contrast to many other comparable projects, the development of the AQEM system has been based on
a new dataset covering both the fauna and general stream characteristics of 28 common European stream types.