Relations among biochemical, individual, and community indicators of stress in fish :stream degradation in the Clinch River drainage
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Bioindicators were used to assess degradation to fish resident to the Clinch River drainage. Species studied were rock bass (Ambloplites rupestris), northern hogsucker (Hypentelium nigricans) and striped shiner (Luxilus chrysocephalus). The data were collected in parallel with a study of the index of biotic integrity (IBI) on fish communities also in the Clinch River drainage. Sites selected for this study were identical to those used for IBI. Data obtained from fish sampled at relatively pristine sites (i.e., high IBI) were used as references to be compared with data obtained from fish sampled at sites suspected of human impact (low IBI). Results demonstrated variable bioindicator response to degraded sites. While bioindicators were elevated at certain sites, others were not significantly different from corresponding reference values. Furthernore, results showed a number of correlations between certain bioindicators and IBI and several IBI components, implying a possible relationship between these initial individual-level responses (biondicators) and eventual longer term population- and community-level effects (i.e., IBI and its components). However, these results also varied between impacted sites. Future field application of bioindicators in the presence of such a multiplicity of potential stressors was discussed.
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