Macroinvertebrate traits

Developing a macroinvertebrate trait-based approach for assessing and managing ecosystem health in South Africa

This project investigated the potential use of macroinvertebrate traits in assessing ecosystem health. The project was led by the Unilever Centre for Environmental Water Quality, Institute for Water Research, Rhodes University. The incorporation of traits into biomonitoring approaches, methods and tools has the potential to complement current tools and approaches and to address some of the pitfalls of methods based chiefly on taxonomic identities of resident biota. It is increasingly being recognised that certain traits of aquatic macroinvertebrate are linked to ecosystem function, and their careful analysis can provide an indication of the functional health of the ecosystem. A database of macroinvertebrate traits for South Africa has been developed. The trait categories include biological and behavioral traits as well as relevant information on ecological preferences of taxa.


Odume ON, Akamagwuna FC, Ntloko P, Dallas HF, Nnadozie CF and Barber-James HM. 2023. A trait database for southern African freshwater invertebrates. African Journal of Aquatic Science: DOI: 0.2989/16085914.2022.2142505.

Odume ON, Ntloko P, Akamagwuna FC, Dallas HF, Barber-James H.  2018. Development of macroinvertebrate trait-based approach for assessing and managing ecosystem health in South African rivers – Incorporating a case study in the Tsitsa river and its tributaries, Eastern Cape.  Water Research Commission Project K5/7157.  Water Research Commission, Pretoria, South Africa.



Project Leader
Helen Dallas (for FRC)

EFT Account Details

Account Name:               Freshwater Research Centre NPC 
Bank:                                 Nedbank Limited
Account No:                     102 680 5341    
Branch Code:                   104 309
Swift Code:                       NEDSZAJJ

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