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Fish-based indicators of estuarine condition that do not require reference data

Tweedley, J.R.ORCID: 0000-0002-2749-1060, Warwick, R.M., Hallett, C.S.ORCID: 0000-0002-8844-3388 and Potter, I.C. (2017) Fish-based indicators of estuarine condition that do not require reference data. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 191 . pp. 209-220.

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The species composition of fish communities in 15 microtidal estuaries in south-western Australia, ranging from permanently-open to normally-closed, is shown to be related to the geomorphological and hydrological regimes and not to environmental condition. This study then explored the effectiveness of using qualitative taxonomic distinctness and ABC curves for fish data as indicators of the environmental condition in nearshore, shallow waters of these estuaries and, in the case of taxonomic distinctness, also of their offshore, deeper waters. Neither of these indices require spatial or temporal reference data, which may be either prohibitively expensive and time-consuming to collect or unavailable. Taxonomic distinctness, in both nearshore and offshore waters, varied consistently among estuaries in relation to their recorded environmental status, and is thus a good indicator of overall estuarine condition. ABC analyses, however, did not prove a good measure of the environmental condition of the estuaries, because their results largely reflect differences in accessibility of the estuary to marine estuarine-opportunist species and especially those that grow to a larger size. It is concluded that taxonomic distinctness indices provide a rapid and cost-effective method for assessing the environmental condition of estuaries, particularly those with limited spatial or temporal reference data.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research
Publisher: Academic Press
Copyright: © 2017 Elsevier Ltd.
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