Use of Indices of Biological Integrity (IBIs) to assess wetland health in dry and wet conditions

  • Author / Creator
    Wilson, Matthew J
  • Indices of Biological Integrity (IBIs) estimate the biological condition of an ecosystem by measuring biological metrics that predict underlying environmental stress. I evaluated the use of IBIs developed from 5 biotic communities at 81 semi-permanent/permanent natural and constructed wetlands. Wet meadow vegetation (R2 = 0.67) and songbirds (R2 = 0.59) were consistently sensitive to environmental stress and were strong surrogates of one another (R2 = 0.56), suggesting that plants can be used to predict songbird integrity and vise versa. Other plant and bird communities were not good indicators of environmental stress. A subset of 45 sites was resampled to evaluate the sensitivity of the wet meadow vegetation IBI to plant community changes between dry and wet conditions. Non-metric multi-dimensional scaling (NMS) revealed that IBI scores were fairly insensitive to plant community changes from relatively dry to wet conditions. These results suggest that plant-based IBIs are in fact effective at measuring ecosystem health in the Aspen Parkland.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2012
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • Ecology
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Foote, A. Lee (Renewable Resources)
    • Bayley, Suzanne (Biological Sciences)
    • Roland, Jens (Biological Sciences)