The integrated biomarker response revisited: optimization to avoid misuse
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The growing need to evaluate the quality of aquatic ecosystems led to the development of numerous monitoring tools. Among them, the development of biomarker-based procedures, that combine precocity and relevance, is recommended. However, multi-biomarker approaches are often hard to interpret, and produce results that are not easy to integrate in the environmental policies framework. Integrative index have been developed, and one of the most used is the integrated biomarker response (IBR). However, an analysis of available literature demonstrated that the IBR suffers from a frequent misuse and a bias in its calculation. Then, we propose here a new calculation method based on both a more simple formula and a permutation procedure. Together, these improvements should rightly avoid the misuse and bias that were recorded. Additionally, a case study illustrates how the new procedure enabled to perform a reliable classification of site along a pollution gradient based on biomarker responses used in the IBR calculations.
KeywordsBiomarkers Integrated Index Environmental risk assessment Pollution Water Framework Directive
The authors thank the French INSU-EC2CO-Cytrix program for supporting this work as part of the Sydépop project. We would like to thank Carole Cossu-Leguille, François Rodius and Alain Geffard for their participation in the Sydépop project.
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