Chapter 8 (Part B): Fish Protocols
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|8.3||DESCRIPTION OF FISH METRICS|
Through the IBI, Karr et al. (1986) provided a consistent theoretical framework for analyzing fish assemblage data. The IBI is an aggregation of 12 biological metrics that are based on the fish assemblage's taxonomic and trophic composition and the abundance and condition of fish. Such multiple-parameter indices are necessary for making objective evaluations of complex systems. The IBI was designed to evaluate the quality of small Midwestern warmwater streams but has been modified for use in many regions (e.g., eastern and western United States, Canada, France) and in different ecosystems (e.g., rivers, impoundments, lakes, and estuaries).
|Figure 8-1. Sequence of activities involved in calculating and interpreting the Index of Biotic Integrity (adapted from Karr et al. 1986).|
The metrics attempt to quantify a biologist's best professional judgment (BPJ) of the quality of the fish assemblage. The IBI utilizes professional judgment, but in a prescribed manner, and it includes quantitative standards for discriminating the condition of the fish assemblage (Figure 8-1). BPJ is involved in choosing both the most appropriate population or assemblage element that is representative of each metric and in setting the scoring criteria. This process can be easily and clearly modified, as opposed to judgments that occur after results are calculated. Each metric is scored against criteria based on expectations developed from appropriate regional reference sites. Metric values approximating, deviating slightly from, or deviating greatly from values occurring at the reference sites are scored as 5, 3, or 1, respectively. The scores of the 12 metrics are added for each station to give an IBI ranging from a maximum of 60 (excellent) to a minimum of 12 (very poor). Trophic and tolerance classifications of selected fish species are listed in Appendix C. Additional classifications can be derived from information in State and regional fish texts, by objectively assessing a large statewide database, or by contacting authors/originators of regional IBI programs or pilot studies. Use of the IBI by water resource agencies may result in further modifications. Many modifications have occurred (Miller et al. 1988) without changing the IBI's basic theoretical foundations.
The IBI serves as an integrated analysis because individual metrics may differ in their relative sensitivity to various levels of biological condition. A description and brief rationale for each of the 12 IBI metrics is outlined below. The original metrics described by Karr (1981) for Illinois streams are followed by substitutes used in or proposed for different geographic regions and stream sizes. Because of zoogeographic differences, different families or species are evaluated in different regions, with regional substitutes occupying the same general habitat or niche. The source for each substitute is footnoted below. Table 8-1 presents an overview of the IBI metric alternatives and their sources for various areas of the United States and Canada.
|8.3.1||Species Richness and Composition Metrics|
These metrics assess the species richness component of diversity and the health of resident taxonomic groupings and habitat guilds of fishes. Two of the metrics assess assemblage composition in terms of tolerant or intolerant species.
Metric 1. Total number of fish species Substitutes (Table 8-1): Total number of resident native fish species and salmonid age classes.
This number decreases with increased degradation; hybrids and introduced species are not included. In coldwater streams supporting few fish species, the age classes of the species found represent the suitability of the system for spawning and rearing. The number of species is strongly affected by stream size at most small warmwater stream sites, but not at large river sites (Karr et al. (1986), Ohio EPA 1987).
Metric 2. Number and identity of darter species Substitutes (Table 8-1): Number and identity of sculpin species, benthic insectivore species, salmonid juveniles (individuals); number of sculpins (individuals); percent round-bodied suckers, sculpin and darter species.
These species are sensitive to degradation resulting from siltation and benthic oxygen depletion because they feed and reproduce in benthic habitats (Kuehne and Barbour 1983, Ohio EPA 1987). Many smaller species live within the rubble interstices, are weak swimmers, and spend their entire lives in an area of 100-400 m2 (Matthews 1986, Hill and Grossman 1987). Darters are appropriate in most Mississippi Basin streams; sculpins and yearling trout occupy the same niche in western streams. Benthic insectivores and sculpins or darters are used in small Atlantic slope streams that have few sculpins or darters, and round-bodied suckers are suitable in large midwestern rivers.
Metric 3. Number and identity of sunfish species. Substitutes (Table 8-1): Number and identity of cyprinid species, water column species, salmonid species, headwater species, and sunfish and trout species.
|Alternative IBI Metrics|
|1. Total Number of Species||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|#native fish species||X||X||X||X||X|
|# salmonid age classesb||X||X|
|2. Number of Darter Species||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|# sculpin species||X|
|# benthic insectivore species||X|
|# darter and sculpin species||X|
|# darter, sculpin, and madtom species||X|
|# salmonid juveniles (individuals)b||X||X||X|
|% round-bodied suckers||Xc|
|# sculpins (individuals)||X|
|# benthic species||X||X|
|3. Number of Sunfish Species||X||X||X||X||X|
|# cyprinid species||X|
|# water column species||X|
|# sunfish and trout species||X|
|# salmonid species||X||X|
|# headwater species||X|
|% headwater species||X||X|
|4. Number of Sucker Species||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|# adult trout speciesb||X||X|
|# minnow species||X||X||X|
|# sucker and catfish species||X|
|5. Number of Intolerant Species||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|# sensitive species||X||X|
|# amphibian species||X|
|presence of brook trout||X|
|% stenothermal cool and cold water species||X|
|% of salmonid ind. as brook trout||X|
|6. % Green Sunfish||X|
|% common carp||X|
|% white sucker||X||X|
|% tolerant species||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|% creek chub||X|
|% dace species||X|
|% eastern mudminnow||X|
|7. % Omnivores||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|% generalist feeders||X|
|% generalists, omnivores, and invertivores||X|
|8. % Insectivorous Cyprinids||X||X|
|% specialized insectivores||X||X|
|# juvenile trout||X|
|% insectivorous species||X||X|
|9. % Top Carnivores||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|% catchable salmonids||X|
|% catchable trout||X|
|% pioneering species||X||X||X|
|Density catchable wild trout||X|
|10. Number of Individuals (or catch per effort)||X||X||X||X||X||Xd||Xd||X||X||Xd||X|
|Density of individuals||X||X|
|% abundance of dominant species||X||X|
|Biomass (per m2)||Xf|
|11. % Hybrids||X||X|
|% introduced species||X||X|
|% simple lithophills||X||X||X||X|
|# simple lithophills species||X|
|% native species||X|
|% native wild individuals||X|
|% silt-intolerant spawners||X|
|12. % Diseased Individuals (deformities, eroded fins, lesions, and tumors)||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Note: X = metric used in region. Many of these variations are applicable elsewhere.
a Taken from Karr et al. (1986), Leonard and Orth (1986), Moyle et al. (1986), Fausch and Schrader (1987), Hughes and Gammon (1987), Ohio EPA (1987), Miller et al. (1988), Steedman (1988), Simon (1991), Lyons (1992a), Barbour et al. (1995), Simon and Lyons (1995), Hall et al. (1996), Lyons et al. (1996), Roth et al. (1997).
b Metric suggested by Moyle et al. (1986) or Hughes and Gammon (1987) as a provisional replacement metric in small western salmonid streams.
c Boat sampling methods only (i.e., larger streams/rivers).
d Excluding individuals of tolerant species.
e Non-coastal Plain streams only.
f Coastal Plain streams only.
These pool species decrease with increased degradation of pools and instream cover (Gammon et al. 1981, Angermeier 1987, Platts et al. 1983). Most of these fishes feed on drifting and surface invertebrates and are active swimmers. The sunfishes and salmonids are important sport species. The sunfish metric works for most Mississippi Basin streams, but where sunfish are absent or rare, other groups are used. Cyprinid species are used in coolwater western streams; water column species occupy the same niche in northeastern streams; salmonids are suitable in coldwater streams; headwater species serve for midwestern headwater streams; and trout and sunfish species are used in
southern Ontario streams. Karr et al. (1986) and Ohio EPA (1987) found the number of sunfish species to be dependent on stream size in small streams, but Ohio EPA (1987) found no relationship between stream size and sunfish species in medium to large streams, nor between stream size and headwater species in small streams.
Metric 4. Number and identity of sucker species. Substitutes (Table 8-1): Number of adult trout species, number of minnow species, and number of suckers and catfish.
These species are sensitive to physical and chemical habitat degradation and commonly comprise most of the fish biomass in streams. All but the minnows are longlived species and provide a multiyear integration of physicochemical conditions. Suckers are common in medium and large streams; minnows dominate small streams in the Mississippi Basin; and trout occupy the same niche in coldwater streams. The richness of these species is a function of stream size in small and medium sized streams, but not in large (e.g., non-wadeable) rivers.
Metric 5. Number and identity of intolerant species. Substitutes (Table 8-1): Number and identity of sensitive species, amphibian species, and presence of brook trout.
This metric distinguishes high and moderate quality sites using species that are intolerant of various chemical and physical perturbations. Intolerant species are typically the first species to disappear following a disturbance. Species classified as intolerant or sensitive should only represent the 5-10 percent most susceptible species, otherwise this becomes a less discriminating metric. Candidate species are determined by examining regional ichthyological books for species that were once widespread but have become restricted to only the highest quality streams. Ohio EPA (1987) uses number of sensitive species (which includes highly intolerant and moderately intolerant species) for
headwater sites because highly intolerant species are generally not expected in such habitats. Moyle (1976) suggested using amphibians in northern California streams because of their sensitivity to silvicultural impacts. This also may be a promising metric in Appalachian streams which may naturally support few fish species. Steedman (1988) found that the presence of brook trout had the greatest correlation with IBI score in Ontario streams. The number of sensitive and intolerant species increases with stream size in small and medium sized streams but is unaffected by size of large (e.g., non-wadeable) rivers.
Metric 6. Proportion of individuals as green sunfish. Substitutes (Table 8-1): Proportion of individuals as common carp, white sucker, tolerant species, creek chub, and dace.
This metric is the reverse of Metric 5. It distinguishes low from moderate quality waters. These species show increased distribution or abundance despite the historical degradation of surface waters, and they shift from incidental to dominant in disturbed sites. Green sunfish are appropriate in small midwestern streams; creek chubs were suggested for central Appalachian streams; common carp were suitable for a coolwater Oregon river; white suckers were selected in the northeast and Colorado where green sunfish are rare to absent; and dace (Rhinichthys species) were used in southern Ontario. To avoid weighting the metric on a single species, Karr et al. (1986) and Ohio EPA (1987) suggest using a small number of highly tolerant species (e.g., alternative Metric 6-- percent abundance of tolerant species).
|8.3.2||Trophic Composition Metrics|
These three metrics assess the quality of the energy base and trophic dynamics of the fish assemblage. Traditional process studies, such as community production and respiration, are time consuming to conduct and the results are equivocal; distinctly different situations can yield similar results. The trophic composition metrics offer a means to evaluate the shift toward more generalized foraging that typically occurs with increased degradation of the physicochemical habitat.
Metric 7. Proportion of individuals as omnivores. Substitutes (Table 8-1): Proportion of individuals as generalist feeders.
The percent of omnivores in the community increases as the physical and chemical habitat deteriorates. Omnivores are defined as species that consistently feed on substantial proportions of plant and animal material. Ohio EPA (1987) excludes sensitive filter feeding species such as paddlefish and lamprey ammocoetes and opportunistic feeders like channel catfish. In areas where few species fit the true definition of omnivore, the proportion of generalized feeders may be substituted (Leonard and Orth 1986).
Metric 8. Proportion of individuals as insectivorous cyprinids. Substitutes (Table 8-1): Proportion of individuals as insectivores, specialized insectivores, insectivorous species, and number of juvenile trout.
Invertivores, primarily insectivores, are the dominant trophic guild of most North American surface waters. As the invertebrate food source decreases in abundance and diversity due to habitat degradation (e.g., anthropogenic stressors), there is a shift from insectivorous to omnivorous fish species. Generalized insectivores and opportunistic species, such as blacknose dace and creek chub were excluded from this metric by Ohio EPA (1987). This metric evaluates the midrange of biological condition, i.e., low to moderate condition.
Metric 9. Proportion of individuals as top carnivores. Substitutes (Table 8-1): Proportion of individuals as catchable salmonids, catchable wild trout, and pioneering species.
The top carnivore metric discriminates between systems with high and moderate integrity. Top carnivores are species that feed, as adults, predominantly on fish, other vertebrates, or crayfish. Occasional piscivores, such as creek chub and channel catfish, are not included. In trout streams, where true piscivores are uncommon, the percent of large salmonids is substituted for percent piscivores. These species often represent popular sport fish such as bass, pike, walleye, and trout. Pioneering species are used by Ohio EPA (1987) in headwater streams typically lacking piscivores. Pioneering species predominate in unstable environments that have been affected by temporal desiccation or anthropogenic stressors, and are the first to reinvade sections of headwater streams following periods of desiccation.
|8.3.3||Fish Abundance and Condition Metrics|
The last 3 metrics indirectly evaluate population recruitment, mortality, condition, and abundance. Typically, these parameters vary continuously and are time consuming to estimate accurately. Instead of such detailed population attributes or estimates, general population parameters are evaluated. Indirect estimation is less variable and much more rapidly determined.
THE INDEX OF WELL-BEING (IWB)
The Iwb (Gammon 1976, 1980, Hughes and Gammon 1987) incorporates two abundance and two diversity measures in an approximately equal fashion, thereby representing fish assemblage quality more realistically than a single diversity or abundance measure. The Iwb is calculated using the formula:
THE MODIFIED INDEX OF WELL-BEING (MIWB)
The MIwb (Ohio EPA 1987) retains the same formula as the Iwb; however, highly tolerant species, hybrids, and exotic species are eliminated from the abundance (i.e., number and biomass) components of the formula. This modification increases the sensitivity of the index to a wider array of environmental disturbances.
This metric evaluates population abundance and varies with region and stream size for small streams. It is expressed as catch per unit effort, either by area, distance, or time sampled. Generally sites with lower integrity support fewer individuals, but in some nutrient poor regions, enrichment increases the number of individuals. Steedman (1988) addressed this situation by scoring catch per minute of sampling greater than 25 as a 3, and less than 4 as a 1. Unusually low numbers generally indicate toxicity, making this metric most useful at the low end of the biological integrity scale. Hughes and Gammon (1987) suggest that in larger streams, where sizes of fish may vary in orders of magnitude, total fish biomass may be an appropriate substitute or additional metric.
This metric is an estimate of reproductive isolation or the suitability of the habitat for reproduction. Generally as environmental degradation increases the percent of hybrids and introduced species also increases, but the proportion of simple lithophils decreases. However, minnow hybrids are found in some high quality streams, hybrids are often absent from highly impacted sites, and hybridization is rare and difficult to detect. Thus, Ohio EPA (1987) substitutes simple lithophils for hybrids. Simple lithophils spawn where their eggs can develop in the interstices of sand, gravel, and cobble substrates without parental care. Hughes and Gammon (1987) and Miller et al. (1988) propose using percent introduced individuals. This metric is a direct measure of the loss of species segregation between midwestern and western fishes that existed before the introduction of midwestern species to western rivers.
Metric 12. Proportion of individuals with disease, tumors, fin damage, and skeletal anomalies
This metric depicts the health and condition of individual fish. These conditions occur infrequently or are absent from minimally impacted reference sites but occur frequently below point sources and in areas where toxic chemicals are concentrated. They are excellent measures of the subacute effects of chemical pollution and the aesthetic value of game and nongame fish.
Hughes and Gammon (1987) suggest that in larger (e.g., non-wadeable) rivers where sizes of fish may vary in orders of magnitude this additional metric may be appropriate. Gammon (1976, 1980) and Ohio EPA (1987) developed an Index of Well-Being (Iwb) and Modified Index of Well-Being (MIwb), respectively, based upon both fish abundance and biomass measures. The combination of diversity and biomass measures is a useful tool for assessing fish assemblages in larger rivers (Yoder and Rankin 1995b). Ohio EPA (1987) found that the additional collection of biomass data (i.e., in addition to abundance information needed for the IBI) required to calculate the MIwb does not represent a significant expenditure of time, providing that subsampling techniques are applied (see Field Sampling Procedures 8.1.1).
Because the IBI is an adaptable index, the choice of metrics and scoring criteria is best developed on a regional basis through use of available publications (Karr et al. (1986), Leonard and Orth (1986), Ohio EPA (1987), Miller et al. (1988), Steedman (1988), Simon (1991), Lyons (1992a), Simon and Lyons (1995), Hall et al. (1996), Lyons et al. (1996), Roth et al. (1997), Simon 1999). Several steps are common to all regions. The fish species must be listed and assigned to trophic and tolerance guilds. Scoring criteria are developed through use of high quality historical data and data from minimally-impaired regional reference sites. This has been done for much of the country, but continued refinements are expected as more ecological data become available for the fish community.
|8.4||TAXONOMIC REFERENCES FOR FISH|
The following references are provided as a list of taxonomic references currently being used around the United States for identification of fish. Any of these references cited in the text of this document will also be found in Chapter 11 (Literature Cited).
Anderson, W.D. 1964. Fishes of some South Carolina coastal plain streams. Quarterly Journal of the Florida Academy of Science 27:31-54.
Bailey, R.M. 1956. A revised list of the fishes of Iowa with keys for identification. Iowa State Conservation Commission, Des Moines, Iowa.
Bailey, R.M. and M.O. Allum. 1962. Fishes of South Dakota. Miscellaneous Publications of the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 119, 131pp.
Baxter, G.T. and J.R. Simon. 1970. Wyoming fishes. Wyoming Game and Fish Department. Bulletin No. 4, Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Baxter, G.T. and M.D. Stone. 1995. Fishes of Wyoming. Wyoming Game and Fish Department. Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Becker, G.C. 1983. Fishes of Wisconsin. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, Wisconsin.
Behnke, R.J. 1992. Native trout of western North America. American Fisheries Society Monograph 6. American Fisheries Society. Bethesda, Maryland.
Bond, C.E. 1973. Keys to Oregon freshwater fishes. Technical Bulletin 58:1-42. Oregon State University Agricultural Experimental Station, Corvallis, Oregon.
Bond, C.E. 1994. Keys to Oregon freshwater fishes. Oregon State University. Corvallis, Oregon.
Brown, C.J.D. 1971. Fishes of Montana. Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana.
Clay, W.M. 1975. The fishes of Kentucky. Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Frankford, Kentucky.
Cook, F.A. 1959. Freshwater fishes of Mississippi. Mississippi Game and Fish Commission, Jackson, Mississippi.
Cooper, E.L. 1983. Fishes of Pennsylvania and the northeastern United States. Pennsylvania State Press, University Park, Pennsylvania.
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Dahlberg, M.D. and D.C. Scott. 1971. The freshwater fishes of Georgia. Bulletin of the Georgia Academy of Science 19:1-64.
Douglas, N.H. 1974. Freshwater fishes of Louisiana. Claitors Publishing Division, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Eddy, S. and J.C. Underhill. 1974. Northern fishes, with special reference to the Upper Mississippi Valley. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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Everhart, W.H. 1966. Fishes of Maine. Third edition. Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Game, Augusta, Maine.
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Hubbs, C. 1972. A checklist of Texas freshwater fishes. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Technical Service 11:1-11.
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La Rivers, I. 1994. Fishes and fisheries of Nevada. University of Nevada Press. Reno, Nevada.
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Lee, D.S., S.P. Platania, C.R. Gilbert, R. Franz, and A. Norden. 1981. A revised list of the freshwater fishes of Maryland and Delaware. Proceedings of the Southeastern Fishes Council 3:1-10.
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Markle, D.F., D.L. Hill, and C.E. Bond. 1996. Sculpin identification workshop and working guide to freshwater sculpins of Oregon and adjacent areas. Oregon State University. Corvallis, Oregon.
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Miller, R.J. and H.W. Robinson. 1973. The fishes of Oklahoma. Oklahoma State University Press, Stillwater, Oklahoma.
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Morris, J.L. and L. Witt. 1972. The fishes of Nebraska. Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Lincoln, Nebraska.
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Moyle, P.B. 1976. Inland fishes of California. University of California Press, Berkeley, California.
Mugford, P.S. 1969. Illustrated manual of Massachusetts freshwater fish. Massachusetts Division of Fish and Game, Boston, Massachusetts.
Page, L.M. 1983. Handbook of darters. TFH Publishing, Neptune, New Jersey.
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Smith, P.W. 1979. The fishes of Illinois. Illinois State Natural History Survey. University of Illinois Press, Urbana, Illinois.
Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1987. Freshwater fishes of Alabama. Auburn University Agricultural Experiment Station, Auburn, Alabama.
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Tomelleri, J.R. and M.E. Eberle. 1990. Fishes of the central United States. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.
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Wydoski, R.S. and R.R. Whitney. 1979. Inland fishes of Washington. University of Washington Press.