Temporal and spatial variation in an index of biological integrity for the middle Wabash River, Indiana
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Few studies have addressed within-year temporal variation of IBI scores. We compared index of biotic integrity (IBI) scores for two summer sampling events from a large river during 25 annual periods. The results indicated that IBI scores calculated from June samples were not significantly different from July samples. Spatial autocorrelation was present, such that sites that were closer together produced similar IBI scores and could not be considered independent. Temporal autocorrelation was present, but was not strong. Lower quality sites (low IBI score) did not have higher variation than higher quality sites. Our results show that a single sample of fishes by boat electrofisher during the summer in a large river such as the Wabash River can produce a repeatable estimate of IBI score. Thus, repeated or additional sampling within the summer season to improve the quality of the evaluation is not warranted.