Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Ervin, Gary

Committee Member

Taylor, Christopher

Committee Member

Brown, Richard

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Biological Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Biological Sciences


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has mandated that states must include the use of biological assessments in their water quality laws to assess the biological integrity of aquatic systems. The Floristic Quality Assessment Index (FQAI), which uses wetland vegetation to assess the biological integrity of an ecosystem, has not been tested in Mississippi. The purpose of this study was to test the efficiency of the FQAI in wetlands along a gradient of human influence. Coefficients of conservatism (CC) were assigned to plant species based on their tolerance to disturbance and fidelity to habitat. A negative correlation was found between the FQAI and level of human disturbance for 53 sites surveyed in the summer of 2004. Based on the results of this study, the FQAI and the average CC could be effective tools for monitoring wetland management and restoration and for identifying areas of high conservation value in Mississippi.



wetland vegetation||FQAI