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  • 1 International Graduate School Zittau Markt 23 02763 Zittau Germany
  • 2 Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources Stilleweg 2 30655 Hannover Germany
  • 3 UFZ Centre for Environmental Research, Leipzig-Halle, Magdeburg Department of Inland Water Research Gouvernementsberg 1 39104 Magdeburg Germany
  • 4 Faculty of Agriculture, Ehime University Department of Forest Resource Biology 3-5-7 Tarumi, Matsuyama 790 Ehime Japan
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Biomonitoring is a method of observing the impact of external factors on ecosystems and their development over a long period, or of ascertaining differences between one location and another. A monitor suitable for the subject of the investigation must be chosen, and the comparability of the element concentrations thus determined (both within the investigation and with other studies) must be ensured by adhering to precise sampling guidelines. In addition to the small amount of equipment required, the advantages of biomonitoring lie in the ecosystem approach that permits conclusions going beyond the biomonitor itself. Attention has to be given to the factors that may affect element concentrations and which can lead to incorrect statements if ignored.