Comparison of Macroinvertebrate Colonization of Different Substrates in Artificial Substrate Basket Samplers to Determine Stream Quality

Hannah-Beth Marie Griffis


Many different sampling techniques are used to collect macroinvertebrates to determine stream quality, and artificial substrate samplers are becoming a more popular choice as a sampling technique. Macroinvertebrate taxa are attracted to different substrates and this is often over looked in other studies. Three basket samplers, one filled with limestone bank rock, one filled with brick, and one filled with oak leaves, were placed in a creek for 20 days. The rock substrate resulted with the highest total abundance, with the brick substrate resulting in the least. All three substrates had similar Macroinvertebrate Biotic Indices (MBI), the rock substrate with 4.70 (good), the brick with 5.08 (fair), and the leaf with 5.18 (fair). The leaf substrate resulted in significantly lower EPT specimen when compared to both rock and brick substrates (p<0.001, p=0.0012, respectively), and lower pollution intolerant/tolerant specimens when similarly compared (p<0.001, p=0.015. respectively). When the brick substrate was compared to the rock substrate, both EPT/Non-EPT and pollution intolerant/tolerant specimen were found to be not significantly different (p=0.21, p=0.41). Although the leaf pack was thought to be the most diverse habitat, it resulted in similar number for the Shannon Diversity Index as the rock and brick substrates. The rock and brick substrates had similar results in regard to EPT, pollution intolerant/tolerant taxa, and overall stream quality determination. The results from the leaf pack in comparison to the rock and brick substrates were not greatly different but sorting specimens was an extremely tedious process, and either not recommended in using in basket samplers, or an improvement in design is recommended. Different substrates attracted different taxa, yet did not significantly alter conclusions regarding stream quality. More substrates should be studied in the future to determine the best process for sampling macroinvertebrates.


Benthic Macroinvertebrates; artificial substrates; stream quality

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