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Mar Pollut Bull. 2006 Jul;52(7):817-29.

Are taxonomic distinctness measures compliant to other ecological indicators in assessing ecological status?

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Department of Ecology and Hydrology, Faculty of Biology, University of Murcia, 30100 Murcia, Spain.


Assessing the ecological status, a concept implemented in the European Water Framework Directive [EC, 2000. Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council 2000/60/EC establishing a framework for community action in the field of water policy PE-CONS 3639/1/00, p. 72], requires the application of methods capable of distinguishing different levels of ecological quality. The Average Taxonomic Distinctness has been used as tool in this context, and we tested the robustness of Taxonomic Distinctness measures applying it in different scenarios (estuarine eutrophication, organic pollution, and re-colonisation after physical disturbance), analysing simultaneously its compliance to other types of ecological indicators. Results show that, in most of the case studies, only Total Taxonomic Distinctness was relatively satisfactory in discriminating between disturbed situations. Other Taxonomic Distinctness measures have not proved to be more sensitive than other ecological indicators (Shannon-Wiener, Margalef, and Eco-Exergy indices). Therefore, this approach does not seem to be particularly helpful in assessing systems' ecological status with regard to the WFD implementation.

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