Great Lakes coastal wetlands monitoring and assessment techniques

Kostuk, K.
M.Sc. Thesis for The Department of Biology, McMaster University


The overall objective of this study is to contribute to general knowledge on bioassessment of Great Lakes coastal wetlands. Coastal wetlands (also referred to as marshes) are unique systems that experience day-to-day changes due to storms, high winds, and rapid changes in barometric pressure, exposing the shorelines to wave conditions; in addition to this annual and seasonal water level flucations contribute to this distinctive ecosystem. The first chapter examines the influence of gear type and sampling protocol on fish catch data that are used to calculate biotic indices of wetland quality in Lake Huron. We surveyed fish communities in coastal wetlands of eastern Georgian Bay and Long Point Bay, Lake Erie, to determine biases associated with different gear types and sampling protocols. The second chapter used zoobenthos as a bio-indicator of wetland quality. We developed 26 metrics that could be used by wetland managers to assess wetland quality based solely on taxonomic composition of zoobenthos.

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