Proper classification of sites is critical for the use of biological indices that can distinguish between natural and human-induced variation in biological response. The macrophyte-based index of biotic integrity was developed to assess the condition of Minnesota lakes in relation to anthropogenic stressors, but macrophyte community composition varies naturally across the state. The goal of the study was to identify environmental characteristics that naturally influence macrophyte index response and establish a preliminary lake classification scheme for biological assessment (bioassessment). Using a comprehensive set of environmental variables, we identified similar groups of lakes by clustering using flexible beta classification. Variance partitioning analysis of IBI response indicated that evaluating similar lake clusters could improve the ability of the macrophyte index to identify community change to anthropogenic stressors, although lake groups did not fully account for the natural variation in macrophyte composition. Diagnostic capabilities of the index could be improved when evaluating lakes with similar environmental characteristics, suggesting the index has potential for accurate bioassessment provided comparable groups of lakes are evaluated.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Environmental clustering of lakes to evaluate performance of a macrophyte index of biotic integrity|
|Series title||Aquatic Botany|
|Contributing office(s)||Coop Res Unit Leetown|
|Online Only (Y/N)||N|
|Additional Online Files (Y/N)||N|