Ein verschwommenes Bild von Wasser mit grünem Gras und Sonnenstrahlen.

Genetic methods for assessing the quality of river sediments using oligochaetes

Oligochaetes (a subclass of worms) can be used to assess the quality of fine/sandy sediments. However, oligochaetes are difficult to identify. The aim of the OligoGen project was to develop further and to test three different genetic methods in order to make them routinely applicable for the identification of oligochaete taxa. The following methods were considered: 1) high-throughput sequencing of genetically marked oligochaetes II) metabarcoding of DNA in ethanol from preserved material and III) metabarcoding of DNA from mixtures of oligochaetes.

This report and the synthesis describe the most important results of the project and summarize the advantages, limitations, applicability and development perspectives of the three methods tested.

Note: This publication is not an enforcement aid of the Confederation but an expert report.

Recorded parameters

Species and abundances of aquatic oligochaetes (a subclass of worms), recorded using various genetic methods.


The assessment is based on the calculation of the biological oligochaete index IOBS. This index was developed to assess the quality of fine/sandy sediments in rivers.


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