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A fish-based estuarine health index for the Swan Estuary, WA

Hallett, C. (2011) A fish-based estuarine health index for the Swan Estuary, WA. In: 13th International River Symposium, 11 - 14 October, Perth, Western Australia.

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    Abstract

    We describe the development of a fish-based, multimetric estuarine health index (EHI) for the Swan Estuary, Western Australia. A suite of fish community characteristics (metrics), including measures of species composition, diversity and abundance, trophic structure and life history function, were selected via a weight of evidence approach, on the basis of their sensitivity to detect interannual change. Reference conditions for each selected metric were established for each region of the Swan Estuary using historical fish assemblage data, and represent a best available standard of biotic integrity against which the current and future health of the estuary may be assessed and compared. Scores for each metric were assigned according to the extent of the metric’s deviation from its reference condition. Values for the EHI were calculated from summed metric scores for each main region of the Swan Estuary for each season and year, to identify trends in the recent health of the estuary, and to validate the sensitivity and reliability of the index. The index, which is the first such tool to be developed for Western Australia, will provide managers with a reliable and cost-effective, quantitative method for assessing and communicating the health of the Swan Estuary.

    Publication Type: Conference Item
    Murdoch Affiliation: Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research
    URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/7867
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