ABSTRACT. Management of aquatic ecosystems requires a clear understanding of the goals to be achieved, appropriate information and the means to achieve the goals. Control measures applied to aquatic ecosystems, in the absence of information on the condition of the system, are apt to be inappropriate and thus may overprotect the receiving system at times and underprotect it at other times since the ability of ecosystems to receive wastes is not constant. A major determinant of the effectiveness and efficiency of ecological quality control is the lag time in the feedback of information. If the lag is too great, the control measures may repeatedly overshoot or undershoot the desired goal. Present techniques for measuring the responses of aquatic organisms and communities require days or weeks, whereas information for ecosystem quality control and prevention of ecological crises should be generated in minutes or hours as is the case for other quality control systems. Two biological monitoring systems have been developed to generate information rapidly. One system measures changes in the movement and breathing of fish in order to provide an early warning of developing toxicity in the wastes of an industrial plant. The other system measures changes in the diversity of algal comunities in streams by means of laser holography. The incorporation and use of these systems in industrial plants is discussed.
Journal of the American Water Resources Association – Wiley
Published: Feb 1, 1973
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