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Assessing Fish Species Tolerance in the Huntai River Basin, China: Biological Traits versus Weighted Averaging Approaches

1
College of Fisheries, Huazhong Agriculture University, Wuhan 430079, China
2
Department of Ecology and Ecosystem Management, Technische Universitaet Muenchen, Freising-Weihenstephan 85354, Germany
3
State key Laboratory of Environmental Criteria and Risk Assessment, Chinese Research Academy of Environment Sciences, Beijing 100012, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2018, 10(12), 1843; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10121843
Received: 2 November 2018 / Revised: 5 December 2018 / Accepted: 12 December 2018 / Published: 13 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomonitoring of Water Quality)
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Abstract

Fish species tolerance used as a component of fish-index of biological integrity (F-IBI) can be problematic as it is usually classified using the historical data, data from literature or expert judgments. In this study, fish assemblages, water quality parameters and physical habitat factors from 206 sampling sites in the Huntai River Basin were analyzed to develop tolerance indicator values (TIVs) of fish based on a (Fb-TIVs) and the weighted averaging (WA) method (FW-TIVs). The two quantitative methods for fish tolerance were then compared. The FW-TIVs and Fb-TIVs of fish species were calculated separately using a WA inference model based on ten water quality parameters (WT, pH, DO, SC, TDS, NH3, NO2, NO3, TP, Cl, and SO42−), and six biological traits (lithophilic spawning, benthic invertivores, cold water species, equilibrium or periodic life history strategies, families of Cottidae, and species distribution range). Fish species were then classified into biological traits approach three categories (tolerant species, moderately tolerant species, and sensitive species). The results indicated that only 30.3% fish species have the same classification based on FW-TIVs and Fb-TIVs. However, the proportion of tolerant species based on two methods had a similar response to environmental stress, and these tolerant species were correlated with PCA axes 1 site scores obtained by (FW-TIVs, p < 0.05, R2 = 0.434; Fb-TIVs, p < 0.05, R2 = 0.334) and not correlated with PCA axis 2 site scores (FW-TIVs, p > 0.05, R2 = 0.001; Fb-TIVs, p > 0.05, R2 = 0.012) and PCA axis 3 site scores (FW-TIVs, p > 0.05, R2 = 0.000; Fb-TIVs, p > 0.05, R2 = 0.013). The results of linear regression analyses indicated that Fb-TIVs can be used for the study of fish tolerance. Fish tolerance assessments based on FW-TIVs requires long-term monitoring of fish assemblages and water quality parameters to provide sufficient data for quantitative studies. The Fb-TIV method relies on the accurate identification of fish traits by an ichthyologist. The two methods used in this study can provide methodological references for quantitative studies of fish tolerance in other regions, and are of great significance for the development of biological assessment tools. View Full-Text
Keywords: fish species tolerance; Huntai river basin; biological traits approach; weighted averaging method; water quality parameters; physical habitat factors fish species tolerance; Huntai river basin; biological traits approach; weighted averaging method; water quality parameters; physical habitat factors
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Wang, X.-N.; Ding, H.-Y.; He, X.-G.; Dai, Y.; Zhang, Y.; Ding, S. Assessing Fish Species Tolerance in the Huntai River Basin, China: Biological Traits versus Weighted Averaging Approaches. Water 2018, 10, 1843.

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