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Chapter 1 Definitions, strategies and principles for bioindication/biomonitoring of the environment

Trace Metals and other Contaminants in the Environment DOI: 10.1016/S0927-5215(03)80131-5

ABSTRACT In the context of environmental monitoring studies bioindicators reflect organisms (or parts of organisms or communities of organisms) that contain information on quality of the environment (or a part of the environment). Biomonitors, on the other hand, are organisms (or parts of organisms or communities of organisms) that contain informations on the quantitative aspects of quality of the environment. When data and information obtained by bioindication are moved up to the level of knowledge the subjectivity of interpretation increases with the complexity and dynamics of a system (“staircase of knowing”).In this article clearcut definitions are attempted for most terms used in environmental monitoring studies. From there a comparison of instrumental measurements with the use of bioindicators/biomonitors with respect to harmonisation and quality control will be drawn. Precision, accuracy, calibration and harmonisation in between national standards and international routines seem to be the leading goals in quality studies of international working groups dealing with biomonitoring throughout the world. Common strategies and concepts will fill the gap in between single source results and integrated approaches related either for human health aspects or environmental protection purposes, f.e. via biodiversity monitoring. Here we report on well established monitoring programmes like Environmental Specimen Banking (ESB) or newly developed strategies as the Multi-Markered Bioindication Concept (MMBC) with its functional and integrated windows of prophylactic health care.

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