Bionicators are living organisms that indicate the health of an ecosystem are are ideally abundant and easy to collect. Certain aquatic organisms are considered good indicators of water quality, with the ideal organism being dependent on the specific aspect being investigated. Some of the most commonly used bioindicators of good water quality in freshwater systems in the UK include:
- Macroinvertebrates: Macroinvertebrates are small aquatic animals that lack a backbone and can be seen with the naked eye. They include insects, crustaceans, and mollusks. These organisms are sensitive to changes in water quality and are often used to assess the health of a freshwater system.
- Fish: Fish are also commonly used as bioindicators of water quality. Different fish species have different tolerance levels to pollutants, so the presence or absence of certain fish species can indicate the overall health of a water body.
- Aquatic plants: Aquatic plants, such as water lilies, can also be used as bioindicators of water quality. The presence of certain plant species can indicate a healthy and diverse ecosystem, while the absence of plants can indicate poor water quality.
- Algae: Algae are also commonly used as bioindicators of water quality, especially in relation to eutrophication, which is the excessive growth of algae due to an increase in nutrient levels in the water.
It’s important to note that different organisms have different tolerance levels to pollutants and changing environmental conditions, so a combination of different bioindicators is often used to assess the overall health of a freshwater system.