Sediments, suspended solids and biofilm samples at different locations of the River Alb near Karlsruhe were analysed for their heavy metal content (Pb, Cu, Cd). The main task of this study was to validate the biofilm method by comparing the measured pollution with the results of long term monitoring programs based on sediments and suspended solid samples. All compartments of the surveyed systems showed increasing heavy metal concentrations towards highly urbanised areas. The translation of data into pollution classes detected similar pollution situations for sediments and biofilms. The presented biofilm method recommends itself as a practicable instrument for assessing the heavy metal pollution in freshwater ecosystems. The easy sampling-technique, the low variability in the detected values and the ecological relevance of biofilms are the obvious advantages of this biofilm monitoring.

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