A methodology to inventory water quality in northeast Brazil through biomonitoring is described. Essentially the methodology is based on the United States Environmental Protection Agency protocol supplemented by benthic macroinvertebrate diversity data. To date six test species have been selected to represent the overall aquatic biota response to different pollutants: the snail (Pomacea linetata), fish (Molienesia sp.), prawn (Macrobrachium amazonicum), zooplankton (Daphnia similis), macrophytes (Lemna sp.) and periphytic algae (Selenastrum capricornutum). These organisms will be exposed to test waters and evaluated with regard to acute toxicity (survival) and chronic toxicity (photosynthesis, respiration, excretion, growth and reproduction).

An extensive training program has been set-up. Regional governmental laboratories and staff will be equipped with the capacity to conduct bioassays routinely. Training and research activities are housed in the Environmental Management laboratories at the Federal Technical School of Paraíba, as well as at the Federal University of Paraíba, Campus I, Systematic and Ecology Department.

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