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Results of Validation Exercise for Marine Benthic Index

Publication number Date Published
23-03-009March 2023
VIEW NOW Results of Validation Exercise for Marine Benthic Index (Number of pages: 20) (Publication Size: 655KB)

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Author(s) Partridge, V. and D. Schoolmaster Jr.
Description In 2021, the Puget Sound Partnership funded development of a Marine Benthic Index for assessing and communicating the condition of Puget Sound benthic invertebrate communities. The Marine Benthic Index thus developed uses a novel approach that accounts for habitat preferences of the benthic invertebrate species. This report describes the design and results of the exercise conducted to validate the Marine Benthic Index.
The goals of the validation exercise were to determine (a) how well the Marine Benthic Index matches more standard ways of assessing community health and (b) how finely it is possible to distinguish between levels of disturbance.

The results provide strong evidence that the “latent disturbance” model used to derive the Marine Benthic Index identifies effects that benthic experts recognize as disturbance. Not only did the model agree with the experts overall, but also the probability of agreement strongly increased with increasing difference in disturbance level.

The validation exercise results indicate that the Marine Benthic Index is a reliable method of determining disturbance without the necessity of assuming a priori knowledge of the disturbance. Furthermore, the numerical approach embodied in the Marine Benthic Index has the advantage of being able to find patterns beyond the capability of individual experts to know the effects of human disturbances for all species under all environmental conditions.

See Appendices B, F, G, H, I in the Zip file above.

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Keywords benthic invertebrates, Salish Sea, Puget Sound, benthic index, condition assessment, subtidal, validation, southern Salish Sea
WEB PAGE Puget Sound sediments

Quality Assurance Project Plan: Puget Sound Marine Benthic Index and Graphical Causal Model