Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Wildlife and Fisheries Resources

Committee Chair

James T. Anderson.


Wetland indices of biological integrity (IBIs) are used to satisfy the water resources monitoring requirements of the Clean Water Act (CWA). However, debate still exists on what classification systems and taxa to base these IBIs upon. Our cumulative research, representing indices of biological integrity designed for regional HGM subclasses, designated HGM management classes and Cowardin et al. (1979) classes for West Virginia. The indices were derived from metrics calculated from anuran, avian, macroinvertebrate, and vegetation communities; each representing increasing levels of resources associated with gathering the necessary data. For example, avian and anuran data used to derive floodplain wetland IBI metrics can be collected by volunteers, but the disturbance scores only account for 46% and 18% of the variation in IBI scores, respectively. Alternatively, the disturbance scores account for 56% and 47% of the variation in vegetation and invertebrate IBI scores, respectively. However, if the floodplain wetland was also a scrub-shrub wetland, by adding the avian and anuran metrics of both floodplain and scrub-shrub IBIs, the resulting hybrid-class, multi-taxa IBI disturbance scores accounts for 89% of the variation in IBI scores. We evaluate each of these taxa groups alone and in combination, in single and hybrid classification schemes, to examine changes in sensitivities to the disturbance gradient. The result is a decision making tool that can assist resource managers by providing them with the opportunity to stretch finite resources; while still ensuring the monitoring captures changes in wetland communities due to human disturbance.;Keywords. Indices of biological integrity, IBIs, wetlands, disturbance, anuran communities, avian communities, macroinvertebrate communities, vegetation communities, West Virginia.