In pursuing earlier attempts to characterize the trophic state of inland waters, a new trophic index (TRIX) based on chlorophyll, oxygen saturation, mineral and total nitrogen and phosphorus, and applicable to coastal marine waters, is proposed. Numerically, the index is scaled from 0 to 10, covering a wide range of trophic conditions from oligotrophy to eutrophy. Secchi disk transparency combined with chlorophyll, instead, defines a turbidity index (TRBIX) that serves as complementary water quality index. The two indices are combined in a general water quality index (GWQI). Statistical properties and application of these indices to specific situations are discussed on examples pertaining to the NW Adriatic Sea. It is believed that these indices will simplify and make comparison between different spatial and temporal trophic situations of marine coastal waters more consistent. (C) 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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