Outstanding Issues and Challenges

  • Fully characterizing aquatic life using techniques such as eDNA
  • Expanding indices to dynamic systems such as nonperennial streams or ephemeral wetlands
  • More consistent criteria to define reference conditions and accounting for climate change in reference population definitions
  • More thorough incorporation of ecological theory in index development and interpretation
  • Moving beyond site-specific assessments to interagency regional assessments
  • Better characterizations of stressors and landscape scale anthropogenic disturbances
  • Better communication of science to stakeholders and decision makers

Hawkins, C. P., and D. M. Carlisle. 2022. Biological assessments of aquatic ecosystems. Pages 525–536 in Mehner, T. and K. Tockner (Eds). Encyclopedia of Inland Waters 2nd edition. Elsevier. Oxford, United Kingdom.