Author(s): An KG, Choi SS
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Abstract The health effect of an aquatic ecosystem on habitat modifications were evaluated in the Keum river watershed, Korea during 1977-1996 using the Index of Biological Integrity (IBI) based on fish assemblages. Values of IBI, based on overall sites, averaged 35 (range: 26-45, n = 38) before dam construction, indicating a "fair health condition" based on the modified criteria of Karr and Chu (Karr, J.R.; Chu, E.W. Restoring Life in Running Waters: Better Biological Monitoring; Inland Press: Washington, DC, 1999; 206 pp.), while the values averaged 33 (range: 18-48, n = 15) after dam construction, indicating a similar ecosystem health condition in the IBI between the two periods. Marked modifications in the IBI, however, were partially observed along the longitudinal gradients from the headwaters to downstream along with variations of trophic compositions and habitat guilds. Annual mean of IBI showed significant decreases (p < 0.001, t = 10.03) in the mid-reach of 100-240 km location after the construction along with >20\% decreases of insectivores and >25\% increases of omnivores. Comparisons of habitat guilds indicated that the proportion of riffle benthic species declined linearly from 1977 to 1996 and had inverse relations (r = -0.78, p < 0.01) with that of water column species. Such variations were explained by serial discontinuity concept that was developed by Ward and Stanford (Ward, J.V.; Stanford, J.A. The serial discontinuity concept of lotic ecosystems. In Dynamics of Lotic Ecosystems; Fontaine, J.V., Bartell, S.M., Eds.; Ann Arbor Science: Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, 1983; 29-42). Chemical data of long-term BOD5 and COD5 indicated that chemical impacts after the dam construction were minor compared to the condition before the construction. Overall variation of IBI was highly accounted (p < 0.001, R2 = 0.91, n = 38) by the Qualitative Habitat Evaluation Index (QHEI), suggesting that the ecosystem health was mainly affected by the habitat modifications.
This article was published in J Environ Sci Health A Tox Hazard Subst Environ Eng
and referenced in Fisheries and Aquaculture Journal