The presence or absence of certain species under certain environmental conditions, as well as the abundance of their populations, is determined by their autecological characteristics. One of the project aims is to create a database of ecological and biological characteristics of individual species of benthic invertebrates. These characteristics are called "species traits" and can be used to assess the impact of various stressors (e.g. morphological degradation, pollution or the impacts of climate change) on the aquatic environment. Desiccation of the stream channel acts as a severe ecological filter affecting the structure of taxocenoses. Only species with appropriate autecological characteristics can survive in intermittent streams. The occurrence of these species (and also the absence of species lacking appropriate characteristics) can be used for retrospective indication of dry episodes. Classification of species according to their ability to survive dry episodes is the basis for the development of such methods.
Examples of species traits suitable for the indication of drying:
The database of species traits, which can be used for bioindication of drying up of streams, is the basis for the assessment method that should allow not only the indication of drying but, to some extent, also its quantification. The database will be gradually filled. With regard to the biology of individual taxa, different set of species traits may be relevant for different taxonomic groups. The database will be processed at several taxonomic levels, especially at the level of genus and species. Nevertheless, its completeness depends on the availability of data for each taxonomic group. The database will be linked with other systems used for ecological status assessment under the Water Framework Directive in the future.