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- Effect of sample area and sieve size on benthic macrofaunal community condition assessments in california enclosed bays and estuaries,
- Benthic macrofauna are used extensively for environmental assessment, but the area sampled and sieve sizes used to capture animals often differ among studies. Here, we sampled 80 sites using 3 different sized sampling areas (0.1, 0.05, 0.0071m2) and sieved those sediments through each of 2 screen sizes (0.5, 1mm) to evaluate their effect on number of individuals, number of species, dominance, nonmetric multidimensional scaling (MDS) ordination, and benthic community condition indices that are used to assess sediment quality in California. Sample area had little effect on abundance but substantially affected numbers of species, which are not easily scaled to a standard area. Sieve size had a substantial effect on both measures, with the 1-mm screen capturing only 74% of the species and 68% of the individuals collected in the 0.5-mm screen. These differences, though, had little effect on the ability to differentiate samples along gradients in ordination space. Benthic indices generally ranked sample condition in the same order regardless of gear, although the absolute scoring of condition was affected by gear type. The largest differences in condition assessment were observed for the 0.0071-m2 gear. Benthic indices based on numbers of species were more affected than those based on relative abundance, primarily because we were unable to scale species number to a common area as we did for abundance. © 2010 SETAC., Cited By (since 1996):3, Invertebrates, ,
- Hammerstrom, Ranasinghe, Weisberg, Oliver, Fairey, Slattery, Oakdeny
- Evaluating consistency of best professional judgement in the application of a multiple lines of evidence sediment quality triad
- The bioavailability of sediment-associated contaminants is poorly understood. Often, a triad of chemical concentration measurements, laboratory sediment toxicity tests, and benthic infaunal community condition is used to assess whether contaminants are present at levels of ecological concern. Integration of these 3 lines of evidence is typically based on best professional judgment by experts; however, the level of consistency among expert approach and interpretation has not been determined. In this study, we compared the assessments of 6 experts who were independently provided data from 25 California embayment sites and asked to rank the relative condition of each site from best to worst. The experts were also asked to place each site into 1 of 6 predetermined categories of absolute condition. We provided no guidance regarding assessment approach or interpretation of supplied data. The relative ranking of the sites was highly correlated among the experts, with an average correlation coefficient of 0.92. Although the experts’ relative rankings were highly correlated, the categorical assessments were much less consistent, with only 1 site out of 25 assigned to the same absolute condition category by all 6 experts. Most of the observed categorical differences were small in magnitude and involved the weighting of different lines of evidence in individual assessment approaches, rather than interpretation of signals within a line of evidence. We attribute categorical differences to the experts’ use of individual best professional judgment and consider these differences to be indicative of potential uncertainty in the evaluation of sediment quality. The results of our study suggest that specifying key aspects of the assessment approach a priori and aligning the approach to the study objectives can reduce this uncertainty.
- Bay, Berry, Chapman, Fairey, Gries, Long, MacDonald, Weisberg