Developing a Benthic Index of Biological Integrity and Some Relationships to Environmental Factors in the Subtropical Xiangxi River, China

Authors

  • Fengqing Li,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology and Biotechnology, Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, Hubei Province 430072, People's Republic of China
    2. Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, People's Republic of China
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  • Qinghua Cai,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology and Biotechnology, Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, Hubei Province 430072, People's Republic of China
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  • Lin Ye1

    1. State Key Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology and Biotechnology, Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, Hubei Province 430072, People's Republic of China
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Abstract

The aim of this study is to develop a benthic index of biotic integrity (B-IBI) to help understand how the increasing anthropogenic pressure may impact the subtropical Xiangxi River in China. Benthic macroinvertebrate and environmental surveys were conducted at 77 sites in early summer 2004. Each collection site was categorized as reference or impaired based on physical, chemical, biological, and land-use information. Six non-redundant metrics from 35 metrics were used to differentiate between reference and impaired sites. We selected six metrics for the final IBI. The scoring criteria of each metric were normalized based on the quadrisection and 0–10 scaling systems. Both scaling methods were used to assess the aquatic health of each site in the Xiangxi River watershed. The results showed that most sites were in fairly poor condition. Furthermore, we identified the relationship between B-IBI metrics, water-quality, and land-use variables with a principal component analysis. A composite of nutrients and land-use intensity explained most variances. These results suggest that the B-IBI may be a suitable method for assessing river conditions within the subtropical Xiangxi River in central China (© 2010 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)

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