Water quality evaluation in Mediterranean lagoons using the Multimetric Phytoplankton Index (MPI): Study cases from Sardinia


1 - Water quality in four Sardinian lagoons (western Mediterranean Sea) was assessed using the Multimetric Phytoplankton Index (MPI), which is consistent with the EU Water Framework Directive. The index was developed using data on phytoplankton abundances, species structure and chlorophyll a concentrations in Venice Lagoon, Italy.
2 - The aim of this study was to test the MPI on a larger geographical scale and across a range of lagoon types. Therefore, it was applied to assess water quality in the Cabras, S’Ena Arrubia, Santa Giusta and Calich lagoons in Sardinia. These lagoons are all “choked”, but exhibit a range of sizes and morphometric features. They are directly affected by human activity within the lagoons themselves, such as fisheries, aquaculture and the construction of dams and canals, and are indirectly affected by anthropogenic activities in their catchments, including intensive agriculture, industrial activity and urban development.
3 - The data used in the present study were collected monthly over a period of 4 years (Calich, Santa Giusta and S’Ena Arrubia) to 7 years (Cabras). Samples were collected at three stations at each of the Cabras, Santa Giusta and Calich lagoons, and at two stations at the S’Ena Arrubia Lagoon, providing a total of 220 samples.
4 - The water quality in three of the four lagoons investigated (Cabras, S’Ena Arrubia and Calich) was classified as bad using the MPI. Among these three, water in Cabras Lagoon exhibited the worst condition. Water quality in Santa Giusta Lagoon was classified as poor using the MPI.
5 - Although we present preliminary results that require further verification, the index appears to be a useful tool for assessing the ecological status of typical Mediterranean lagoons.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i1825229Xv7n1p64

Keywords: Biological index; Phytoplankton; Water Framework Directive; Mediterranean lagoons; Sardinia

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