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Re: marine IBI studies


James Karr <[log in to unmask]>


Academic forum on fisheries ecology and related topics <[log in to unmask]>


Thu, 15 May 1997 16:21:27 -0700





TEXT/PLAIN (1 lines)

There seems to be rapidly growing interest in the use of the IBI approach
to assessment in marine environments. A few points of clarification. IBI
was developed in the midwestern US for evaluation of the biological
condition--as opposed to the chemical condition--of running waters. The
first effort used fish and recent work by several different groups have
adopted the IBI concept--multimetric biological assessment--for use with
benthic invertebrates and algae. Freswater stream applications are ow
available from all continents but Anarctica.

Current efforts have expanded to applications in wetlands, lakes,
reservoirs (no biological integrity there) and even terrestiral
environments. Terrestrial efforts have used insects, plants, and birds as
the focus of assessment. Generally the biological condition defined by
one group is closely defined by the condition of other groups.

A couple misconcentptions are that IBI provides a community, functional,
or habitat assessment. In all cased the goal is to be brader than any
of these words convey. Measures included in an IBI range from the health
of individuals to food web structure so the range of issues is well beyond
"community assessment." The same point shows that it beyond functional
assessment. Finally, the goal is to avoid habitat assessment for the same
reason it is inadequate to depend on a water chemistry evaluation
(presence of chemical contaminants or of quality physical habitat, etc,)
does not guarantee the presence of a biota that is complete, healthy, with
integrity, etc.

The end result of an IBI application is a multimetric index that is
similar to the multimetric indexes used by economists to evalaute the
health of an economy. For example, consumer price index, Dow-Jones
index, index of leading economic indicators. The goal is to focus on a
broad evalution of the condition of the biota, the primary concern of
society in its efforts to protect environmental quality.

I know of work in the three areas mentioned in the origianl query
(Chesapeake Bay, Gulf of Mexico, and the Work of Linda Deegan at Woods
Hole. Steve Weisberg is I believe trying to use IBI concepts in work
in California now and a recent student here at the university of
Washington attempted a multimetric approach to assess the effects of
net-pen aquaculture on near coastal areas.

I hope these comments are useful.


Serious problems cannot be dealt with at the level of thinking
        that created them. Albert Einstein

James R. Karr
Professor of Fisheries and Zoology
Adjunct Professor of Civil Engineering, Environmental Health,
        and Public Affairs

Mail address:
University of Washington
Box 352200
Seattle, WA 98195-2200

Telephone: (206) 685-4784
FAX: (206) 543-2025
E-mail: [log in to unmask]
Address for overnight delivery: 151 Mechanical Engin. Bldg.

On Thu, 15 May 1997, Ian Hartwell wrote:

> ---------------------------- Forwarded with Changes ---------------------------
> From: Ian Hartwell at ~NMFS-4
> Date: 5/15/97 2:54PM
> To: [log in to unmask] at EXTERNAL
> Subject: marine IBI studies
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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