ASSESSMENT OF STREAM WATER QUALITY COMPARING THE USE OF WHOLE COUNT TO FIXED-COUNT SUBSAMPLING OF MACROINVERTEBRATES COLLECTED USING KICK-NET TECHNIQUES

Heidi Zambrano

Abstract


Assessment of water quality of streams frequently employs sampling of benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages. Many different sampling techniques and assessment measures have been used to achieve this goal. Quality sampling and methods are crucial to obtain optimum data at minimal expense in order to effectively assess water quality. The accuracy of the data collected is crucial to determining the need for intervention in a local aquatic ecosystem.  Without accurate data collection agencies could use funds when intervention is not needed, or conversely it could appear a system in danger is without need of assistance. It is important for agencies involved to use a method that ensures accurate assessment of the quality in an ecosystem effectively while also limiting expenses during data collection. Using broad taxa categorization (family, order) of Illinois RiverWatch protocol (a citizen science assessment program), this study compared results obtained through using whole count samples from kick net collection of macroinvertebrates at two sites (upstream and downstream) in Lily Cache Creek in Illinois, to subsampling of 100+ specimens from the collection. When the subsample represented only 19.3% of the total number of macroinvertebrates collected, results varied more significantly than when the subsample represented 80.1% of the total count; however both methods of sampling resulted in similar conclusions in regard to the stream’s water quality.


Keywords


Water Quality, Benthic Macroinvertebrate, Illinois

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