Estimating species tolerance to human perturbation: Expert judgment versus empirical approaches

Publication year: 2011
Source: Ecological Indicators, Volume 11, Issue 6, November 2011, Pages 1623-1635

Pedro, Segurado , José Maria, Santos , Didier, Pont , Andreas H., Melcher , Diego Garcia, Jalon , …

Species tolerances are frequently used in multi-metric ecological quality indices, and typically have the strongest responses to disturbances. Usually the tolerances of many species are based on expert judgment, with little support from empirical ecological or physiological data. This is particularly true for fish of Mediterranean-type rivers, in which there are many basin-endemic taxa with little information on basic life history traits. In addition, the apparent tolerance of native Mediterranean freshwater fish species to naturally harsh environments and their short-term resilience may mask responses to man-made pressures. Consequently, we evaluated different statistical techniques and procedures for quantifying Mediterranean lotic fish…