Date of Award

2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.Sc.

Department

Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Ciborowski, Jan

Keywords

Biological Index, Fish, Great Lakes, ROC, Wetlands

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

Assessing the quality of biological communities is important in the management of Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands. Biological indicator models can be used to quantify the condition of biotic communities. A number of biological indicators have been developed for use with fish communities in Great Lakes Coastal wetlands. The overall goal of this thesis was to assess the performance of various biological indicators in their ability to identify degradation in wetland fish communities. Biological indicators were assessed with respect to the disturbance gradient against which they was originally derived. Subsequently, the models' utility as diagnostic tools was assessed for use in identifying sources of anthropogenic stress. Overall, the Cooper-IBIs and Wetland Fish Indices demonstrated the highest classification accuracy, although factors such as their relative sensitivity and specificity, and the purposes for which they were originally designed should be taken into account when applying each indicator.

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