Date request received: April/2020
Freshwater ecosystems are best assessed using aquatic invertebrates, as they are the most biologically and functionally diverse group of organisms in aquatic ecosystems. Our IUCN Task Force on Harmonizing Global Macroinvertebrate Sampling Protocols aims to coordinate the standardization of sampling protocols globally. This activity will improve on already existing protocols, and support countries that do not yet have protocols, particularly in the developing world. We request financial support for the first milestone workshop of our IUCN Task Force on Harmonizing Global Macroinvertebrate Sampling Protocols. Freshwater invertebrates are an extremely species-rich organism group. They perform crucial ecosystem functions, which are supporting many ecosystem services that are paramount for the wellbeing of human societies worldwide. Yet, in many countries, invertebrates are rarely monitored, standardized monitoring protocols are rare, and data are lacking on the abundance of species and their changes in space and time. The situation is especially acute in freshwater systems in the tropics and hampers adequate protection and management of these biodiversity hotspots.
In addition to the local, national and regional benefits that the Task Force will provide, a concerted effort towards standardization of sampling protocols will also form the basis for detection and comparison of trends in invertebrate biodiversity on large spatial scales. This second achievement is crucial to extend knowledge of biodiversity trends from vertebrates (e.g. covered in the WWF Living Planet Index) to invertebrates. Our initiative will thus contribute significantly to slowing freshwater biodiversity loss.