OligoNem – In situ methods using oligochaetes and nematodes for assessing sediment quality

OligoNem – In situ methods using oligochaetes and nematodes for assessing sediment quality

Sediments play a critical role in biogeochemical cycling, and benthic processes support the base of aquatic food chains. However, sediments are often polluted and, as chemical sinks, can represent a risk for benthic communities. Even if no signs of pollution are apparent in the water column sediments can disturb the functioning of the ecosystem.It is therefore crucial to assess the sediment quality to assess the risk for aquatic ecosystems. Integrated methods for the evaluation of sediment quality do not only use physico-chemical and ecotoxicological analyses but also in situ indices that evaluate the diversity and sensitivity of macrobenthic communities. Nematodes and oligochaetes have been found to be most useful in this respect. To encourage the application of such indices the implementation of the French IOBS index for oligchaetes will be improved among other by using new DNA-based monitoring tools (e.g. barcoding) for their taxonomic identification. In addition, the possibility to implement the German NemaSPEAR index for nematodes in Switzerland will be explored.


Lefrançois, E., Apothéloz-Perret-Gentil, L., Blancher, P., Botreau, S., Chardon, C., Crepin, L., Cordier, T., Cordonier, A., Domaizon, I., Ferrari, B.J.D., Guéguen, J., Hustache, J.-C., Jacas, L., Jacquet, S., Lacroix, S., Mazenq, A.-L., Pawlowska, A., Perney, P., Pawlowski, J., Rimet, F., Rubin, J.-F., Trevisan, D., Vivien, R., Bouchez, A. (2018) Development and implementation of eco-genomic tools for aquatic ecosystem biomonitoring: the SYNAQUA French-Swiss program. Environmental Science and Pollution Research https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-018-2172-2
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Vivien, R., Werner, I., Ferrari, B.J.D. (2018) Simultaneous preservation of the DNA quality, the community composition and the density of freshwater oligochaetes for the development of genetically based biological indices. PeerJ, DOI 10.7717/peerj.6050
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Vivien, R., Holzmann, M., Werner, I., Pawlowski, J., Lafont, M. and Ferrari, B.J.D. (2017) Cytochrome c oxidase barcodes for aquatic oligochaete identification: development of a Swiss reference database. PeerJ, DOI 10.7717/peerj.4122
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Vivien, R., Ferrari, B.J.D., Pawlowski, J. (2016) DNA barcoding of formalin‑fixed aquatic oligochaetes for biomonitoring. BMC Res Notes 9:342 DOI 10.1186/s13104-016-2140-1
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Vivien, R., Lejzerowicz, F., Pawlowski, J. (2016) Next-Generation Sequencing of Aquatic Oligochaetes: Comparison of Experimental Communities. PLoS ONE 11(2): e0148644
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Vivien, R., Lafont, M. (2015) Note faunistique sur les oligochètes aquatiques de la région genevoise et de Suisse. Revue suisse de Zoologie, 122:207-212
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Dr. Benoît Ferrari
Dr. Benoît Ferrari Send mail Tel. +41 (0) 21 693 5993 / +41 (0) 58 765 5373


29. November 2016

Oligochaetes indicate sediment quality

Aquatic oligchaetes are well suited for the assessment of biological sediment quality. However, difficulties with their species determination inhibit their use as routine indicator organisms. A genetic species determination using genetic barcodes could change the situation and promote the application of the method.

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