Fish-Based Indices in Catalan Rivers: Intercalibration and Comparison of Approaches

  • Emili García-BerthouEmail author
  • Mi-Jung Bae
  • Lluís Benejam
  • Carles Alcaraz
  • Frederic Casals
  • Adolf de Sostoa
  • Carolina Solà
  • Antoni Munné
Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 42)


Freshwater ecosystems are among the most affected by anthropogenic disturbances, and fish have several advantages for monitoring them, such as the response at larger temporal and spatial scales and its visibility to the society. This chapter summarizes our experience in developing fish-based indices in Catalonia. We describe some differences observed among crews in electrofishing captures and habitat assessments. We also analyzed the suitability of a single pass for conventional monitoring in the region and differences in capturability among sites and species by comparison with multiple passes and block nets. Furthermore, we summarize the results of two contrasting approaches, a site- and a type-specific one (IBICAT2a and IBICAT 2b) applied to Catalan rivers. The site-specific was not successful and further data are needed for its improvement. A protocol for the computation of a type-specific, multimetric index (IBICAT2b) is given. The IBICAT2b fish index uses 4–8 metrics depending on river type and has been validated with environmental pressures both throughout Catalonia and the whole Ebro River basin. An Excel file is also given as an online supplementary material for the computation of this fish index.


Biotic integrity Catalonia Ecosystem health Fish biotic index Rivers Spain Water Framework Directive 



We gratefully thank everybody who helped in the fieldwork. This study was funded by the Catalan Water Agency. Additional financial support was provided by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (projects CGL2009-12877-C02-01 and CGL2013-43822-R), the University of Girona (project SING12/09), the Sant Celoni town council (“Observatori de la Tordera” project, led by Dr. M. Boada), and the Government of Catalonia (ref. 2014 SGR 484). MJB benefited from a postdoctoral grant from the European Commission (Erasmus Mundus Partnership “NESSIE”, 372353-1-2012-1-FR-ERA MUNDUS-EMA22).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emili García-Berthou
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mi-Jung Bae
    • 1
  • Lluís Benejam
    • 2
  • Carles Alcaraz
    • 3
  • Frederic Casals
    • 4
  • Adolf de Sostoa
    • 5
  • Carolina Solà
    • 6
  • Antoni Munné
    • 6
  1. 1.Institute of Aquatic EcologyUniversity of GironaGironaSpain
  2. 2.BETA Technology Centre, Aquatic Ecology GroupUniversity of Vic - Central University of CataloniaVicSpain
  3. 3.IRTA Aquatic EcosystemsSant Carles de la RàpitaSpain
  4. 4.Department of Animal ProductionUniversity of LleidaLleidaSpain
  5. 5.Department of Animal Biology (Vertebrates)University of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  6. 6.Catalan Water Agency (ACA)BarcelonaSpain

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