Figure: Evidence of Exposure or Biological Mechanism
The candidate cause (low dissolved oxygen) of the impairment (dead fish) causes surviving fish to swim at the surface and gulp. Observations of that behavior strengthen the candidate cause and observations that surviving fish are swimming below the surface weakens the candidate cause.
This description applies to each of the types of evidence illustrations. These illustrations provide graphic explanations of the types of evidence. They are somewhat abstract to convey that they are representative of the concept rather than illustrations of particular applications. The live fish (green and upright) represent unimpaired organisms, populations or communities of all types, not just fish. The dead fish (white and belly-up at the surface) represent all biological impairments, not just dead fish. The pipe represents all sources and the yellow effluent plume represents all causal agents (stressors), not just effluents or even chemicals. Clock faces represent the passage of time, not the particular time difference illustrated. Fish in beakers represent laboratory tests. Other graphic elements used in particular illustrations are explained in the caption.