The implementation of the European Water Framework Directive, especially regarding the establishment of fish indexes for riverine habitats, has taken different paths in different countries. For example, in Italy previous efforts have been directed towards a taxonomy-based index, contrarily to most other European countries where an ecofunctional approach took place. Taxonomical indexes are particularly hard to apply to Mediterranean countries, where fish taxonomy is often revised causing problems in practical implementation. Alternatively, ecofunctional characteristics of fish communities could be exploited to inform on river habitat quality and to detect anthropogenic impacts, thus reducing the index sensitivity to the taxonomical variability of the fish fauna. We therefore proposed a new, multimetric index based on ecofunctional traits of fish species (EFFI, EcoFunctional Fish Index) and tested it on 208 river sampling stations of the Emilia-Romagna region, northern Italy. Using theoretical reference communities, ecological quality ratios were estimated for the whole area expressing the ecological distance of each site from reference conditions. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this work underlined how fish communities were more degraded at lower altitudes than at higher ones. EFFI scores were remarkably close to two already-established indexes for chemical (LIM) and macrozoobenthos communities (IBE) alteration. Further work should explore the validity of this approach over a wider geographical range as well as investigate the definition of environmental class boundaries and its potential intercalibration with other indexes.
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|Titolo:||A novel approach to an ecofunctional fish index for Mediterranean countries|
MILARDI, Marco (Primo)
|Data di pubblicazione:||2018|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||03.1 Articolo su rivista|