Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 81, Issue 1, pp 187-197

First online:

An Approach for Identifying the Causes of Benthic Degradation in Chesapeake Bay

  • Cory S. ChristmanAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, Old Dominion University
  • , Daniel M. DauerAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, Old Dominion University

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We developed an index to differentiate between low dissolved oxygen effects and sediment contamination effects for sites classified as degraded by the Chesapeake Bay Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity (B-IBI), using discriminant analysis. We tested 126 metrics for differences between sites with low dissolved oxygen and sites with contaminated sediments. A total of 16 benthic community metrics met the variable selection criteria and were used to develop a discriminant function that classified degraded sites into one of two stress groups. The resulting discriminant function correctly classified 77% of the low dissolved oxygen sites and 80% of the contaminated sites in the validation data.

discriminant analysis index of biotic integrity Chesapeake Bay sediment contamination low dissolved oxygen macrobenthos