Water Biota as Bioindicator of Water Quality

Water Biota as Bioindicator of Water QualityBy: Restu Putri Astuti

Uncontrolled development activities cause environmental degradation to run rapidly. We realize that our indifferent behavior in utilizing resources, especially water, further exacerbates water quality. Water quality is increasingly polluted due to conversion of forest land to settlements, industrial areas and plantation land and other development activities. Fisheries as one of the sectors that rely heavily on water quality. The better the quality of these waters would have the potential to produce an optimal fishery resources and vice versa. Hendrawan (2005) mentioned that the decreasing of usefulness, yield, productivity, carrying capacity and capacity of water resources due to the decreasing of water quality causing the decrease of natural resource wealth.

So far, Indonesia still rely on the measurement of water quality physically and chemically. Whereas in developed countries have used biological methods in the form of index as a determinant of water quality. Of the approximately 100 index systems, 60% of them are the biotic index, 30% diversity index, and 10% of the saprobic index (De Pauwet al., 1992 inTrihadiningrum & Tjondronegoro, 1998). One method is the Biological Monitoring Working Party-Average Score Per Taxon (BMWP-ASPT) developed in the UK (Armitage et al., 1983 see Trihadiningrum & Tjondronegoro, 1998). The system classifies or divides benthic biota into 10 levels based on its ability to respond to contamination in its habitat. This is still less familiar applied by the perpetrators of fisheries in Indonesia.

Biological methods as a determinant of water quality is done by analyzing water biota. Water biota is a group of organisms both animals and plants that most or all of their lives are in the waters. The biota may be bentos, plankton, or nekton that can provide information on the condition of the waters in the indicator whether or not because each water biota has different life characteristics and in accordance with the conditions of the aquatic environment needed. This is what makes the water biota can be used as an indicator of water quality. Most of the aquatic biota can be an indicator of water quality from invertebrate groups (vertebrate animals). Invertebrates include animals that live long in aquatic environments, easily identifiable because they are macroscopic in size and are more effective and efficient than the use of physical and chemical water quality measurements.

Here is a table of Macroinvertebrate indicators for assessing water quality (Trihadiningrum, Y. & I. Tjondronegoro, 1998)

Level of contamination

Makroozoobentos * indicator

1. Not polluted

Trichoptera (Sericosmatidae, Lepidosmatidae, Glossosomatidae); Planaria

2. Contaminated lightly

Plecoptera (Perlidae, Peleodidae); Ephemeroptera(Leptophlebiidae, Pseudocloeon, Ecdyonuridae, Caebidae); Trichoptera (Hydropschydae, Psychomyidae); Odonanta (Gomphidae, Plarycnematidae, Agriidae, Aeshnidae); Coleoptera (Elminthidae)

3. Medium polluted

Mollusca (Pulmonata, Bivalvia); Crustacea (Gammaridae);

Odonanta (Libellulidae, Cordulidae)

4. Contaminated

Hirudinea (Glossiphonidae, Hirudidae); Hemiptera

5. Tainted a bit heavy

Oligochaeta (ubificidae); Diptera (Chironomus thummiplumosus); Syrphidae

6. Highly polluted

There are no macrozoobentos. Most likely encountered

a layer of bacteria that is very tolerant of organic waste(Sphaerotilus) on the surface

* Macrozoobentos are organisms that live in the bottom of the waters and have a very slow movement. Macrozoobentos group is a group of animals that are relatively settled in the bottom waters and are often used as a guide to the water quality indicators (Zulkifliet al, 2009).

Unfortunately, many fishery actors, especially farmers in ponds, ponds, rivers, and the sea that rule out the benefits of water biota as bioindicator. This is allegedly due to the lack of information on water biota as a bioindicator of the water whereas if it can be utilized to benefit the cultivation activity. Let's know the water biota!


Trihadiningrum, Y. & I. Tjondronegoro. 1998. Macroinvertebrate as a bioindicator of freshwater body pollution in Indonesia: Are we ready ?. Environment & Development 18 (1): 45 60

Wardhana, Vishnu. 1999. Changes in aquatic environments and their effects on aquatic biota. Biological Monitoring Training for Halimun Mountain National Park Management, Cikaniki TNGH Research Station

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