SS3.19 Role of Benthic Communities in the Cycling and Balance of Nitrogen in Bays and Estuaries
Date: Thursday, June 13, 2002
Location: Poster Session - VCC
 
BilkovicDM, VA Inst. of Mar. Sci., Gloucester Point, USA, donnab@vims.edu
Hershner, C, H, VA Inst. of Mar. Sci., Gloucester Point, USA, carl@vims.edu
 
THE APPLICABILITY OF ECOLOGICAL INDICATORS FOR ASSESSMENT OF FISH HABITAT IN THE MID-ATLANTIC SLOPE ACROSS SPATIAL SCALES
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The Atlantic Slope Consortium is working to develop and test a suite of ecological and socioeconomic indicators of the condition, health and sustainability of aquatic ecosystems (http://es.epa.gov/ncer_abstracts/grants/00/envind/brooks.html). A specific goal of this project is to develop indicators that describe fish habitat condition at the scale of estuarine segments and small watersheds, and have the ability to connect to both smaller and larger scales. Within the Mid-Atlantic region, several indicators have been previously developed to describe the condition of aquatic ecosystems. We discuss the limitations and applicability of each index across spatial scales based on its ability to discriminate condition across habitats (e.g. salinity gradients). Newly proposed and untested indices were also evaluated for spatial applicability. Those indicators with the most promise for use across habitats will be combined into a final integrated assessment that describes ecosystem condition from a fisheries perspective.