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A zone-specific fish-based biotic index as a management tool for a temperate estuary (Zeeschelde, Belgium)
Breine, J.J.; Quataert, P.; Stevens, M.; Ollevier, F.P.; Volckaert, F.A.M.J.; Maes, J. (2009). A zone-specific fish-based biotic index as a management tool for a temperate estuary (Zeeschelde, Belgium), in: Breine, J. (2009). Visgemeenschappen als ecologische indicator voor estuaria: de Zeeschelde (België) = Fish assemblages as ecological indicator in estuaries: the Zeeschelde (Belgium). Doctoraten van het Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek = PhD theses of the Research Institute for Nature and Forest, T.2009.1: pp. 158-183
In: Breine, J. (2009). Visgemeenschappen als ecologische indicator voor estuaria: de Zeeschelde (België) = Fish assemblages as ecological indicator in estuaries: the Zeeschelde (Belgium). Doctoraten van het Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek = PhD theses of the Research Institute for Nature and Forest, T.2009.1. PhD Thesis. Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek/KU Leuven/INBO: Leuven. ISBN 978-90-403-0299-2. 263 pp., more
In: Doctoraten van het Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek = PhD theses of the Research Institute for Nature and Forest. Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek, more

Available in Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 154919 [ OMA ]

Keywords
    Marine; Brackish water; Fresh water

Authors  Top 
  • Ollevier, F.P., more
  • Volckaert, F.A.M.J., more
  • Maes, J., more

Abstract
    Fish-based indices monitor changes in surface waters and are invaluable to summarise complex information on the environment (Harrison & Whitfield, 2004). A Zone-specific fishbased multimetric Estuarine index of Biotic Integrity (Z-EBI) was developed based on a 13 year time series of fish surveys from the Zeeschelde estuary (Belgium). Sites were preclassified using indicators of anthropogenic impact. Metrics showing a monotone response with pressure classes were selected for further analysis. Thresholds for Good Ecological Potential (GEP) were defined from zone-specific references, a modified trisection was applied for the other thresholds. The Z-EBI is defined by the average of the metric scores calculated over a one year period within each zone and translated into an Ecological Quality Ratio (EQR) to comply with the European Water Framework Directive (WFD). The indices measure fish community characteristics such as species richness and composition, species abundance and nursery function, as well as trophic functions when appropriate. As such they integrate structural and functional qualities of the estuarine fish communities. The Z-EBI performances were successfully validated for habitat degradation in the various habitat zones. Results indicate that the indices distinguish among various levels of degradation (94% matches).

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