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Water 2017, 9(4), 188; doi:10.3390/w9040188

Severity Multipliers as a Methodology to Explore Potential Effects of Climate Change on Stream Bioassessment Programs

1
Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Department of Ecosystem Research, Justus-von-Liebig-Str. 7, D-12489 Berlin, Germany
2
Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum, Department of River Ecology and Conservation, Clamecystraße 12, D-63571 Gelnhausen
3
Department of Integrative Biology, Oregon State University, 3029 Cordley Hall, 2701 SW Campus Way, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
4
Department of Aquatic Ecology, Faculty of Biology, University of Duisburg-Essen, Universitätsstrasse 5, D-45141 Essen, Germany
5
Department of River and Floodplain Ecology, Faculty of Biology, University of Duisburg-Essen, Universitätsstrasse 5, D-45141 Essen, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Kevin B. Strychar
Received: 22 November 2016 / Revised: 2 February 2017 / Accepted: 22 February 2017 / Published: 3 April 2017
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Abstract

Given the scientific consensus that climate change is impacting biodiversity, estimates of future climate change effects on stream communities and assessments of potential biases are necessary. Here, we propose a simple technique to approximate changes in invertebrate and fish biomonitoring results. Taxa lists for 60 (invertebrate) and 52 (fish) sites were each modified by 10 multipliers as stepwise 5% or 10% changes in abundances to simulate potential climate-change severity, reflecting increasing climate change effects. These 10 multipliers were based on the stream zonation preference for invertebrates and the Fish Region Index (FRI) values for fish, both reflecting the longitudinal gradient present in river ecosystems. The original and modified taxa lists were analyzed using the standard assessment software for the particular group, followed by analysis of key biomonitoring metrics. For invertebrates, our simulations affected small good quality streams more often negatively while large poor mountain streams showed a tendency to improve. Forty percent of the invertebrate data sites showed a change in the final ecological assessment class when using the multipliers, with the poor quality sites changing more often. For fish, metric changes were variable, but the FRI ratio showed mostly positive responses, i.e., a shift in FRI towards downstream communities. The results are discussed as an example that facilitates the interpretation of potential climate-change effects with varying severity. Further, we discuss the simplified approach and implications for assessment from climate change induced range shifts. View Full-Text
Keywords: benthic invertebrates; climate change; stream zonation; fish; fish regions; water framework directive (WFD) benthic invertebrates; climate change; stream zonation; fish; fish regions; water framework directive (WFD)
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Jähnig, S.C.; Tonkin, J.D.; Gies, M.; Domisch, S.; Hering, D.; Haase, P. Severity Multipliers as a Methodology to Explore Potential Effects of Climate Change on Stream Bioassessment Programs. Water 2017, 9, 188.

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