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Ecosystem Health Diagnosis Using Integrative Multiple Eco-metric Model Approaches

Author(s): Kwang-Guk An | Hyun-Mac Kim | Ji-Woong Choi

Journal: Journal of Ecology and Environment
ISSN 2287-8327

Volume: 36;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 73;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: eco-metric model | water chemistry | physical habitat health | trophic structure

The object of this study was to evaluate lotic ecosystem health using multiple eco-metric approaches such as water chemistrydiagnosis, physical habitat health evaluations, and biological integrity modeling at 100 streams of four major watersheds.For the study, eight chemical water quality parameters such as nutrients (N, P) and organic material were measuredand 11-metric models of Qualitative Habitat Evaluation Index (QHEI) and multiple eco-metric health assessmentmodel (MEHA) were applied to the four major watershed. Nutrient analysis of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) in allwatersheds indicated a eutrophic state depending on the locations of sampling streams. Physical habitat health, based onthe QHEI model, averaged 114 (range: 56 - 194), judging as a "good condition" by the criteria of Plafkin et al. (1989). In addition,primary (H1 - H4), secondary (H5 - H7), and tertiary habitat metric variables (H8 - H11) were analyzed in relationto the physical habitat degradations. The plots of tolerant species (PTS) and sensitive species (PSS) to water quality showedthat the proportions of PTS had positive linear functions with nutrients, and that the PSS had inverse linear relations withthe chemical variables. The model of eco-metric health assessment showed that mean MEHA was 20.4, indicating a faircondition. Overall, our data suggest that water chemistry, based on nutrients and organic matter, directly modified thetrophic structures in relation to food chain in the aquatic ecosystems, and then these directly influenced the compositionsof tolerance/sensitive species, resulting in degradations of overall ecological health.
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