Description: In a recent review, colleagues from Europe and the US compared the use of periphyton/phytobenthos for ecological assessment across the Atlantic. A broad conclusion from this was that the underpinning science is common to both and that the differences that we see are mainly in the framing legislation and its interpretation. Both the US and EU are “federal” entities, with constituent states having considerable flexibility in how they implement the legislation, leading to a diversity of approaches within both unions. This talk will focus on some key differences: choice of metrics, setting benchmarks and the use of metabarcoding. The latter, in particular, is one area where there appears to be considerably more interest in the EU than in the US. Lessons learned in taking a diatom-based metabarcoding approach through the process of approval by UK regulators will be discussed. Some of these lessons have less to do with the science and more to do with change management in public sector bureaucracies. However, scientists need to understand the broader context within which their research will be implemented.

Target audience:
People interested in the use of diatoms and other freshwater algae for ecological assessment.