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O/E: a standardized way to make site-specific assessments of biological condition Chuck Hawkins Western Center for Monitoring and Assessment of Freshwater.

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Presentation on theme: "O/E: a standardized way to make site-specific assessments of biological condition Chuck Hawkins Western Center for Monitoring and Assessment of Freshwater."— Presentation transcript:

1 O/E: a standardized way to make site-specific assessments of biological condition Chuck Hawkins Western Center for Monitoring and Assessment of Freshwater Ecosystems Utah State University

2 What is O/E? O/E is a measure of the taxonomic completeness of the biological community observed at a site E = 8 taxaO = 3 taxa O/E 0.38

3 Why Site-Specific Assessments are Important: The world is variable and assessments should lead to biologically meaningful, legally defensible, and fair assessments that minimize both false positives and false negatives.

4 Why Standardized Assessments are Important: They allow uniform criteria and standards to be developed that apply to all waterbodies (uniform ≠ fixed)

5 How can we achieve both site-specific and standardized assessments? Recognize that natural ecosystems vary considerably in their expected biota. Develop ways of describing the expected biota for individual sites (site-specific). Assess the degree to which observed biota equal that expected for the site. Develop criteria and standards based on the relative degree of departure from the expected biota (standardized).

6 The Technical Challenge: Accurately and precisely describing the biota expected in different waterbodies in a State.

7 The O/E Approach 1.Select a set of high-quality reference sites that fully characterize the natural biological variation and potential that occurs within a state. 2.Develop predictive models that relate variation in biota to easily measured predictor variables. 3.Quantify model error. 4.Compare the biota observed at a site to that predicted (expected) to occur for that site ‘type’. 5.Develop biological criteria and standards that incorporate measures of error and are consistent with the designated uses of different waterbodies.

8 Reference Site Selection Criteria Minimal chemical contaminants Minimal flow alteration Natural riparian vegetation Natural mixture of habitat types

9 Reference Criteria Used comparable reference criteria Based on: –EMAP reference criteria –Neighboring state reference criteria –Colorado water quality standards

10 Taxonomic Data Resolved ambiguous taxonomic information within and among sites Both approaches used comparable taxonomic resolution

11 Modeling and Assessments 1.Classify reference sites into groups based on their biological composition. 2.Estimate the frequencies of occurrence (fo) of different taxa in each reference site group. 3.Develop a statistical model that predicts the probabilities that an assessed site belongs to each group (pg). 4.Weight fo by pg to refine estimates of the probabilities of capturing (pc) every taxon in the state at an assessed site. 5.Compute O/E from estimates of pc derived from sample data (O) and predictions (E). 6.Assess site condition in the context of model error.

12 How O/E is Calculated: Sum of taxa pc’s estimates the number of taxa (E) that should be observed at the site given standard sampling. TaxapcO 10.92* 20.86* * E4.013 O/E = 3 / 4.01 = 0.75 O2O2 O3O3 * * ** ** 33

13 O/E Describing Model Error E O 1

14 Assessing Biotic Condition O/E 01 Number of Observations Reference Sites Criterion defining high biological integrity Decreasing biological integrity

15 Initial Results for Colorado No time to go into technical details of modeling. Will focus on: –The biological classification of reference sites. –The predictors of biotic variability. –Error of the model.

16 Low elevation sites High elevation sites Plains Foothills?

17 Spatial Distribution of Different Classes of Reference Sites

18 Temperature, stream size, and geography were the best predictors of what class a site belonged to. What group does a site with log WSA = 2.9 belong to?

19 There was no evidence that the model was biased by biotic class or ecoregion. ERO/E CP1.04 SR1.00 WHP0.96 SWTL0.97 SD of 0.17 is ~ 2/3 of possible precision.

20 Summary The CO model is similar in performance to models developed for OR, WA, CA, and WY. Initial results suggest that site-specific assessments can be made with acceptable error and expressed in standardized units that allow direct comparisons across stream types. Assessments are easy to generate and have an intuitive biological meaning interpretable by all stakeholders.


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