Proportion of Individuals as Generalists
This metric replaces the omnivore metric used in the original IBI (Karr 1981). Use of the
omnivore metric was determined to be inapropriate in New Jersey because omnivores
are naturally depauperate. Generalists, as defined here, are species with flexible feeding
strategies and broad habitat requirements. Often a shift from predominantly specialist groups
to generalists groups occurs as water quality becomes degraded (Leonard and Orth 1986); Ohio
EPA 1987). Due to broad feeding and habitat requirements, species included for use in this
metric are considered tolerant of environmental degradation.