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A pilot macroinvertebrate-based multimetric index (MMI-CS) for assessing the ecological status of the Chishui River basin, China

Shiyun, Chi, Gong, Yutian, Wang, Hongjun, Zheng, Jinxiu, Hu, Jun, Hu, Juxiang, Dong, Fangyong
Ecological indicators 2017 v.83 pp. 84-95
Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, Trichoptera, biological assessment, collectors, data collection, environmental monitoring, fish, rivers, watersheds, China, Yangtze River
As the only undammed river in the Yangtze River basin and an important rare fish reserve, the Chishui River has attracted the world's attention. It was recently selected as a reference river for a pilot biomonitoring assessment within the European Union-China River Basin Management Programme. As the outcome of the project, a pilot multimetric index (MMI-CS) was developed for future assessment of the ecological status of the Chishui River basin. In this study, eight core metrics were selected and used to build the multimetric system. These metrics included the total number of taxa (TotalTax), the number of taxa of sprawlers (SprwlTax), the number of intolerant taxa (IntolTax), the Hilsenhoff biotic index (HBI), the percentage of Ephemeroptera, Trichoptera and Plecoptera (EPTPct), the number of Ephemeroptera taxa (EphemTax), the percentage of collectors (CllctPct) and the average score per taxon (ASPT). Five ecological status ratings (“Excellent”, “Good”, “Fair”, “Poor” and “Very Poor”) were established. The results of the evaluation showed that the index was reasonable and effective. The results of the assessment showed that sites with higher ecological status were distributed mainly in the upper and middle reaches of the region and that sites with lower ecological status were centrally distributed in the lower reaches. Moreover, the index should be refined and validated using additional datasets obtained in different seasons in the future for routine bioassessment within the framework of sustainable management.