SCCWRP and its partners have begun exploring how to build a multitrophic index tool that integrates three lines of evidence about biological condition in wadeable streams to assess overall ecological health.
The exploratory work, which kicked off in June following two years of data compilation and analysis, is using advanced computational approaches to understand complex food-web relationships among bacterial, algal and benthic invertebrate communities.
Building this tool has the potential to explain at a more holistic, nuanced level how environmental stress alters the complexity and interconnectedness of stream food webs – insights that existing stream bioassessment tools do not provide.
As part of the exploratory work, researchers will be developing multiple prototype analysis tools, including ones that focus on bacterial metabolic pathways and biological network topologies.
More news related to: Bioassessment, Indices of Biotic Integrity