Springs are a specific biotope for many relict and endemic species as they represent a transition between groundwaters and surface waters.
The Vlasina region is under state protection due to its exceptional ecological significance, as a Landscape of exceptional features importance, while springs were excluded due to the insufficient level of research. Protection of springs in this area was not assigned enough attention.
Macroinvertebrates are exceptional bioindicators of ecosystem conditions, as composition and structure of these communities are easily altered by anthropomorphic factors. Due to the connection of these organisms with macrophytes and fishes through the food web, the abundance and structure of macroinvertebrate community will reflect the faunistic overview of the ecosystem conditions. It is necessary to determine presence or absence of threatened, rare or endemic species.
The first level includes sampling in the field in appropriate seasons of the year. Two sets of samples would be taken at each site in the appropriate seasons in order to determine presence or absence of ecosystem changes in different seasons. Sampling is performed by using a special net adapted for the spring type of ecosystems. Physicochemical parameters of ecosystems will be also measured during each sampling event.
The second level includes laboratory work. Collected samples must be separated from debris, sorted and determined by using specific identification keys. A database and a lab diary are formed according to the collected results. The public will be constantly addressed about the research throughout the study period, and it is our goal to include as many volunteers as possible both in the research and in presentations to public on the importance of this project.
The third level includes presentation of collected results and informing the media. The presentation includes preparing promotion materials in form of posters and PP presentations as well as presentation events aiming for both students of local educational institutions and the local community, in order to raise awareness on importance of protection and conservation of springs.
Please find more at the official rufford website.