, Volume 577, Issue 1, pp 141-149

Index of size distribution (ISD): a method of quality assessment for coastal lagoons

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A new index was developed as a tool for quantifying the degree of disturbance in lagoons in order to meet the objective of Ecological Quality Status (EcoQ), using the zoobenthos quality element. The Index of Size distribution (ISD) is proposed to assess the ecological quality status of coastal lagoons. It represents the skewness of the distribution of individuals of a benthic community in geometric size (biomass) classes. The ISD was applied in three coastal lagoons with different levels of disturbance and classified them as of good, moderate and poor ecological quality. A scheme for the classification of EcoQ in lagoonal systems is presented. The index showed a strong relationship with the percentage of organic carbon in the sediment, as well as with the dissolved oxygen concentrations. ISD having the advantage of good discriminating power and not demanding high taxonomic resolution, could be a simple and promising tool to be further applied and tested in Mediterranean lagoons.