Defining and Restoring Biological Integrity in Wilderness Lakes

Harig, A.L. and M.B. Bain

Publication Date:

Restoring ecosystems to some previous “natural” state is often impeded by the lack of information on what goal is to be attained. However, a target for restoration of lake ecosystems can be established by developing a multimetric tool for the assessment of biological integrity. Our study identified a set of recurring responses to disturbance that indicate impaired biological integrity in lakes that include properties of species composition, taxonomic diversity, and functional organization of the lake communities. We then tested these hypothesized responses in 12 small, isolated Adirondack lakes impacted by nonnative fish species, from collections of fish, benthic invertebrates, zooplankton, and phytoplankton over a 3-yr period. We also tested the feasibility of restoring biological integrity through fish-community manipulation in three additional lakes utilizing these integrity indicators as a recovery target.

Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed Article

Ecological Applications