A measure of response to perturbation used to assess structural change in some polluted and unpolluted stream fish communities
- 1) Department of Biological Sciences, University of Delaware, 19711, Newark, Delaware, USA
A new method for measuring structural change in sets of species which have been subjected to natural or experimental perturbation is developed and is shown to be superior to static diversity and evenness measures for this purpose. Three parameters, H??, J??, and X?;} are shown to provide necessary and sufficient information on the severity of a perturbation as well as the uniformity of its effect on all species in the set. When positive and negative changes in species abundance are considered separately, the method is sensitive to compensatory changes which are not detected by static measures. The parameters are then calculated for some data sets on polluted and unpolluted fish communities in second and third order streams from the Clemons Fork watershed in eastern Kentucky. Results indicate that H??, the diversity of change over two sampling seasons, is high for perturbed and unperturbed systems, but J?? the eveness of change is lower for the communities which were polluted in the second sampling season. Severe pollution results in the suppression of most major fish species, whereas more moderate pollution results in a large number of compensatory changes. The biological basis for such an outcome is discussed, and the notion of these three parameters as the “vital signs” of a healthy ecosystem is presented.
- 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
- 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
- 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
- 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics