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Developing Methods for Comparing Bioindicators Across Transition Zones (Fresh to Salt Water)

Grace Klein-MacPhee 1, James McKenna 2, Adam Memon 3

1 University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of Oceanography, Narragansett Bay Campus, Narragansett RI 02882-1197
2 Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
3 University of Rhode Island, College of Arts and Sciences, Kingston RI 02881,

The Coastal 2000 Project was created by the U.S. E.P.A. to establish sampling methods for bioindicators of health in fresh, estuarine, and marine waters in states that did not have such valid sampling methods. Transition zones are the areas where freshwater enters the marine environment and forms a mixing zone which is tidally influenced. IBI's (Indices for Biological Integrity) have been developed for freshwater and marine environments but not for the transition zone. We examined five streams and their transition zones in coastal Rhode Island. Methods for sampling freshwater and saltwater environments were compared and data was collected on fish, benthic macroinvertebrates, sediment characteristics, stream flow, water quality parameters and nutrients. Information gathered will be used to develop an IBI for transition waters in the Northeast region.

Keywords: IBI, Transition zones, Rhode Island, fish, macroinvertebrates, bioindicators

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