Marine Organisms as Indicators

  • Dorothy F. Soule
  • G. S. Kleppel

About this book


The need for a volume dealing with the concept of indicator organisms became evident during a symposium on the subject, organized by the present editors for the Southern California Academy of Sciences. Ques­ tions were posed about the appropriate uses of indicator organisms and the "rules" governing the application of the indicator concept to particular problems. For example, how does one distinguish true indicators from biological anomalies? What kinds of organisms can appropriately be associated with conditions and events at various scales in time and space? To what extent does one species represent other species in the same environmental setting? Can the indicator concept be applied to the context of modern sampling and analytical technology? How can anthropogenic perturbations be distinguished from natural phenomena? How can unlike matrices from differing data bases with differing scales best be matched? Such questions are especially pertinent in today's research environment. The use of indicator organisms, while certainly not new, is the corner­ stone for much scientific research. In the past two decades, indicator organisms have played increasingly important roles in the development and implementation of public policy. In particular, indicator organisms are being used to describe local environments and natural or anthropogenic perturbations to them, although there are pitfalls and problems associated with those usages. A growing number of nonbiologists, including physical oceanographers, find indicator organisms helpful, and sometimes essential, to their re­ search.


Ocean environment invertebrates marine plankton pollution reefs

Editors and affiliations

  • Dorothy F. Soule
    • 1
  • G. S. Kleppel
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biological Sciences and Institute for Marine and Coastal StudiesUniversity of Southern CaliforniaUniversity Park, Los AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Oceanographic CenterNova UniversityDaniaUSA

Bibliographic information