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Defining and assessing ecological integrity: beyond water quality
Karr, J.R. (1993). Defining and assessing ecological integrity: beyond water quality. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 12(9): 1521-1531. hdl.handle.net/10.1002/etc.5620120902
In: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. Setac Press: New York. ISSN 0730-7268, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Biological diversity; Biological monitoring; Water quality; Marine
Author keywords
    Ecological health; Ecological integrity

Author  Top 
  • Karr, J.R.

Abstract
    Emphasis in environmental protection is shifting from primary attention to human health to a more balanced consideration of human and ecological health. This shift provides opportunities and challenges to the scientific community. For example, success depends on development of operational definitions of ecological health and programs to measure that health. Ecological health is inextricably tied to concepts such as biological diversity and biological integrity. Water chemistry and toxicity testing have dominated water-quality programs for decades. Success in protecting the ecological health of water resources depends on our ability to supplement those methods with ecologically robust approaches. Existing definitions and approaches for measuring the quality of water resources provide a template to guide development of procedures to assess ecological health. Critical components of successful monitoring programs should include evaluations relative to regional expectations, use multimetric indexes that reflect the multivariate nature of biological systems, and include index components (metrics) that evaluate conditions from individual, population, assemblage, and landscape perspectives.

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