Instream Physical Habitat Modelling Types: an analysis as stream hydromorphological modelling tools for EU water resource managers

John Conallin, Eva Boegh, Jørgen Krogsgaard

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


The introduction of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) is providing member state water resource managers with significant challenges in relation to meeting the deadline for 'Good Ecological Status' by 2015. Overall, instream physical habitat modelling approaches have advantages and disadvantages as management tools for member states in relation to the requirements of the WFD, but due to their different model structures they are distinct in their data needs, transferability, user-friendliness and presentable outputs. Water resource managers need information on what approaches will best suit their situations. This paper analyses the potential of different methods available for water managers to assess hydrological and geomorphological impacts on the habitats of stream biota, as requested by the WFD. The review considers both conventional and new advanced research-based instream physical habitat models. In parametric and non-parametric regression models, model assumptions are often not satisfied and the models are difficult to transfer to other regions. Research-based methods such as the artificial neural networks and individual-based modelling have promising potential as water management tools, but require large amounts of data and the model structure is complex. It is concluded that the use of habitat suitability indices (HSIs) and fuzzy rules in hydraulic-habitat modelling are the most ready model types to satisfy WFD demands. These models are well documented, transferable, user-friendly and have flexible data needs. They can easily be implemented in new regions using expert information or different types of local data. Furthermore, they are easily presentable to stakeholders and have the potential to be applied over large spatial scales. Integral care must be taken in the use of appropriate HSIs as these are the most sensitive part of the modelling and inaccurate results will be gained if not correctly formulated. If representative HSIs are not available, fuzzy rule-based modelling is recommended, but care must also be taken in the designing of the rule sets. For larger-scale modelling or when only few field data are available, generalized habitat models hold promise for quantifying habitat suitability based on average stream characteristics.
TidsskriftInternational Journal of River Basin Management
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)93-107
Antal sider14
StatusUdgivet - 2010


  • Vandrammedirektivet
  • vandforvaltning
  • fysisk vandløbs habitat modellering

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