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Sensitivity analysis to explore responsiveness and dynamic range of multi-metric fish-based indices for assessing the ecological status of estuaries and lagoons

Alvarez, María C.; Franco, Anita; Pérez-Domínguez, Rafael; Elliott, Mike

Authors

María C. Alvarez

Anita Franco A.Franco@hull.ac.uk

Rafael Pérez-Domínguez

Professor Mike Elliott Mike.Elliott@hull.ac.uk
Professor of Estuarine and Coastal Sciences/ Research Professor, Institute of Estuarine and Coastal Studies



Abstract

Fish-based multi-metric indices are an integral tool in implementing effective water policy initiatives for transitional waters. This study analysed the behaviour of three fish indices (TFCI in the UK, ELFI in France and EFAI in Portugal) developed for monitoring in line with the European Water Framework Directive, by applying a supervised multi-way sensitivity analysis with national monitoring data. The relative variation in the index outcome was analysed under different simulation scenarios by setting metric values at various levels and accounting for the co-variation between metrics. Subsets of key metrics were identified based on their higher influence in determining the index output. Index results under manipulations of metric scores clearly indicated that metric type, number of metrics used and correlations between metrics are important in determining their behaviour. This has implications for implementing management/conservation plans, for example, by prioritising restoration and/or conservation of metrics influencing more the ecological status. Indices including uncorrelated metrics (e. g. EFAI) or metrics with a skewed distribution (e. g. TFCI) are less affected by extreme metric changes, reducing the effectiveness of management actions aimed at improving the ecological status of a water body and thus adjustments may be needed to increase their sensitivity to changes in their metrics. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2013-03
Print ISSN 0018-8158
Electronic ISSN 1573-5117
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 704
Issue 1
Pages 347-362
APA6 Citation Alvarez, M. C., Franco, A., Pérez-Domínguez, R., & Elliott, M. (2013). Sensitivity analysis to explore responsiveness and dynamic range of multi-metric fish-based indices for assessing the ecological status of estuaries and lagoons. Hydrobiologia, 704(1), 347-362. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-012-1314-7
DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-012-1314-7
Keywords Aquatic Science; Pollution; General Environmental Science
Publisher URL https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10750-012-1314-7
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