The Freshwater Biological Association

Ambleside, United Kingdom

The Freshwater Biological Association

Ambleside, United Kingdom
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Carrie R.,Lancaster University | Carrie R.,University of Worcester | Dobson M.,The Freshwater Biological Association | Dobson M.,APEM Ltd | Barlow J.,Lancaster University
Hydrobiologia | Year: 2017

Family-level biotic metrics were originally designed to rapidly assess gross organic pollution effects, but came to be regarded as general measures of stream degradation. Improvements in water quality in developed countries have reignited debate about the limitations of family-level taxonomy to detect subtle change, and is resulting in a shift back towards generic and species-level analysis to assess smaller effects. Although the scale of pollution characterizing past condition of streams in developed countries persists in many developing regions, some areas are still considered to be only moderately disturbed. We sampled streams in Belize to investigate the ability of family-level macroinvertebrate metrics to detect change in stream catchments where less than 30% of forest had been cleared. Where disturbance did not co-vary with natural gradients of change, and in areas characterized by low intensity activities, none of the metrics tested detected significant change, despite evidence of environmental impacts. We highlight the need for further research to clarify the response of metrics to disturbance over a broader study area that allows replication for confounding sources of natural variation. We also recommend research to develop more detailed understanding of the taxonomy and ecology of Neotropical macroinvertebrates to improve the robustness of metric use. © 2017 Springer International Publishing Switzerland


Baird D.J.,University of New Brunswick | Baker C.J.O.,University of New Brunswick | Brua R.B.,Environment Canada | Hajibabaei M.,University of Guelph | And 3 more authors.
Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management | Year: 2011

The trait approach has already indicated significant potential as a tool in understanding natural variation among species in sensitivity to contaminants in the process of ecological risk assessment. However, to realize its full potential, a defined nomenclature for traits is urgently required, and significant effort is required to populate databases of species-trait relationships. Recently, there have been significant advances in the area of information management and discovery in the area of the semantic web. Combined with continuing progress in biological trait knowledge, these suggest that the time is right for a reevaluation of how trait information from divergent research traditions is collated and made available for end users in the field of environmental management. Although there has already been a great deal of work on traits, the information is scattered throughout databases, literature, and undiscovered sources. Further progress will require better leverage of this existing data and research to fill in the gaps.We review and discuss a number of technical and social challenges to bringing together existing information and moving toward a new, collaborative approach. Finally, we outline a path toward enhanced knowledge discovery within the traits domain space, showing that, by linking knowledge management infrastructure, semantic metadata (trait ontologies), andWeb 2.0 and 3.0 technologies, we can begin to construct a dedicated platform for TERA science. © 2010 SETAC.

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