Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

An invertebrate multimetric index to classify the ecological status of small coastal lagoons in the Mediterranean ecoregion (MIBIIN)

Paloma Lucena-Moya A B C and Isabel Pardo A

A Universidad de Vigo, Facultad de Ciencias, Departamento de Ecología y Biología Animal, Campus as Lagoas-Marcosende, 36310-Vigo, Spain.

B Institute for Applied Ecology, Building 3, University of Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: Paloma.Lucena-Moya@canberra.edu.au; plucena@uvigo.es

Marine and Freshwater Research 63(9) 801-814 https://doi.org/10.1071/MF12104
Submitted: 18 April 2012  Accepted: 13 August 2012   Published: 8 October 2012

Abstract

Despite the requirements of the European Water Framework Directive (WFD) to protect water bodies, suitable indices of quality designed specifically to assess coastal lagoons (transitional waters) remain absent. In the present study, we developed a multimetric index of the Balearic Island based on invertebrate communities (MIBIIN) to assess the ecological status of small coastal lagoons (i.e. up to 4-m depth and <2.5 km2), a common ecosystem within the Mediterranean ecoregion. Thirty-four coastal lagoons were sampled on six occasions between 2005 and 2008. A multimetric index for each salinity type of coastal lagoon (oligohaline-MIBIIN, mesohaline-MIBIIN and euhaline-MIBIIN) was developed. The individual metrics, and hence the MIBIINs, fulfilled the normative definitions established by the WFD (abundance, diversity and sensitive : tolerance ratio), responded to gradients of disturbance and discriminated reference from non-reference sites. Common boundary limits for the three MIBIINs were established (high/good = 0.930, good/moderate = 0.730, moderate/poor = 0.500, poor/bad = 0.250). Unlike other metrics used in coastal lagoon evaluation, the MIBIINs were developed exclusively for coastal lagoons, including oligohaline freshwater environments. Although the MIBIIN is yet to be validated with an external dataset, these findings suggest the potential for this new multimetric index to be used in similar systems in the Mediterranean ecoregion.

Additional keywords: Balearic Islands, boundary limits, diversity, salinity, sensitive/tolerance, Water Framework Directive.


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