In this study, an integrative weight of evidence (WOE) tetrad methodology was developed and used to assess environmental quality and ecological risk at contaminated sites by fish farm effluents using spatial modelling tools [geographical information systems (GIS) and fuzzy logic and multicriteria analysis (MCA)], taking into account the results of four lines of evidence (LOE): the physico-chemical characteristics of water and sediment, acute toxicity bioassays, biomarkers and the in situ alteration of benthic communities. The methodology was tested in the Rio San Pedro salt marsh creek in southwestern Spain. The proposed approach allowed for a quantitative spatial characterization of ecological risk and a better discrimination based on various types of physical, chemical and biological data. The methodology illustrates how GIS spatial models may be used in conjunction with other tools such as fuzzy logic and MCA to assist in decision-making processes based on multiple environmental quality criteria and lines of evidence, with the transparency, objectivity and synoptic ability required to address environmental management problems in general and the management of contaminated marine areas affected by fish farms in particular.
- Ecological risk assessment
- Environmental quality indicators
- Fuzzy logic
- Multicriteria analysis
- Weight of evidence