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International Journal on Algae
SJR: 0.229 SNIP: 0.261 CiteScore™: 0.24

ISSN Print: 1521-9429
ISSN Online: 1940-4328

International Journal on Algae

DOI: 10.1615/InterJAlgae.v9.i3.70
pages 274-293

Integrating bioassessment as a tool for water resource management

Naser Jafari
Department of Biology, Basic Faculty, Mazandaran University, Iran
A. Foroutan
Agriculture & Natural Resources Institute, Mazandaran, Iran


During the past decade, new biological assessment methods have been developed for use in inland waters. Less work has gone into objective testing of the individual methods and their diagnostic or other capabilities, and very little effort has been devoted to comparing methods. The major water quality indices that are important in freshwater systems and methods to monitor them are described in this publication. Bioassessment has become a widely accepted technique for monitoring aquatic health in streams, lakes, and wetlands throughout the world. Biological assessment, "bioassessment", is now recognized as fundamental to sustainable management of the world's freshwater resources. Biological measurements provide direct information on the condition of groups of biota resident in the water resource, and therefore on the condition of the resource. Thus they address management issues more directly and can provide a more sensitive time integrated assessment of the river condition, than physical or chemical variables. Bioassessment and ecological risk assessment are inherently complementary in nature. The development of aquatic environmental sciences during the last decades led to the application of numerous relevant biomonitoring tools based on the examination of phyto- and zoo-benthos. The ecological assessment of freshwater ecosystems necessitates considering (i) the operational biological classification for defining a range of ecosystem alterations, (ii) operational biomonitoring tools fulfilling the requirements of the classification, (iii) ecological quality objectives to be preserved or restored. Biological assessment is a useful alternative for assessing the ecological quality of aquatic ecosystems since biological communities integrate the environmental effects of water chemistry, in addition to the physical and geomorphological characteristics of rivers and lakes. Biological monitoring is important as information on organisms reflects the effects of an environmental stressor. Direct measurement of chemical concentration is important, but this reflects exposure not effect; observations on organisms can indicate effect. In addition, biological organisms integrate the effects of stressors over time. Thus, as an indicator of environmental or ecosystem status, they may be more useful than simply measuring how chemical concentrations change over time. In this paper, various biological indices are reviewed which can be used for water quality monitoring.

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