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A zone-specific fish-based biotic index as a management tool for the Zeeschelde estuary (Belgium)
Breine, J.; Quataert, P.; Stevens, M.; Ollevier, F.; Volckaert, F.A.M.; Van den Bergh, E.; Maes, J. (2010). A zone-specific fish-based biotic index as a management tool for the Zeeschelde estuary (Belgium). Mar. Pollut. Bull. 60(7): 1099-1112. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2010.01.014
In: Marine Pollution Bulletin. Macmillan: Oxford. ISSN 0025-326X, more
Peer reviewed article

Available in Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 213742 [ OMA ]

Keywords
Author keywords
    Biotic integrity; Fish-based index; Meso- and oligohaline estuary; Freshwater; European Water Framework Directive; Zeeschelde

Authors  Top 
  • Volckaert, F.A.M., more
  • Van den Bergh, E., more
  • Maes, J.

Abstract
    Fish-based indices monitor changes in surface waters and are a valuable aid in communication by summarising complex information about the environment (Harrison and Whitfield, 2004). A zone-specific fish-based multimetric estuarine index of biotic integrity (Z-EBI) was developed based on a 13year time series of fish surveys from the Zeeschelde estuary (Belgium). Sites were pre-classified using indicators of anthropogenic impact. Metrics showing a monotone response with pressure classes were selected for further analysis. Thresholds for the good ecological potential (GEP) were defined from 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 and translated into an ecological quality ratio (EQR). The indices 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.

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