Department or Program

Environmental Studies

Abstract

Benthic macroinvertebrates were sampled in the four major input streams of Lake Auburn to develop a baseline characterization for future monitoring programs. Physical and chemical characteristics of streams were used to attempt to explain the biotic variability among sites. Each stream was sampled in a riffle and a pool when present; otherwise a single run was sampled in those with slow moving waters. Physical data was collected by observation, water chemistry was tested with hand meters, and macroinvertebrate samples were collected by kicknetting. Streams differed greatly in physical, chemical, and biological parameters. While no correlations were found between chemical and biotic data, stream size and discharge were stronger predictors of the biotic data, as was habitat and substrate. Percent Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, Trichoptera (%EPT) and total number of organisms per sample were the greatest in riffle sections, streams with larger substrate and less substrate embedding, and were positively correlated with stream size and discharge. As water chemistry is known to affect macroinvertebrate populations, it is possible that levels are within a healthy range for macroinvertebrate life, or that more samples were needed to find correlations. Substrate, discharge, and habitat type are all related to one another, so it is likely that a combination of these factors create the most preferable environment for macroinvertebrate communities. These relationships emphasize the importance of physical characteristics in biotic variability in streams.

First Advisor

Holly Ewing

Date of Graduation

Spring 5-2014

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Number of Pages

72

Components of Thesis

1 pdf file

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