Thesis Title

Biomonitoring of Stream Water Quality: Comparative Sensitivities of Macroinvertebrate Indices and Leaf Decomposition Rates

Date of Graduation

Summer 2002

Degree

Master of Science in Biology

Department

Biology

Committee Chair

John Havel

Subject Categories

Biology

Abstract

This study compared macroinvertebrate diversity indices with leaf decomposition rates in order to determine if both measures are sensitive to variation in water quality. Eight sites in the James River and its tributaries in southwest Missouri were sampled during summer 2001 and spring 2002 and compared with existing water chemistry data. Results revealed that leaf decomposition rates did not correlate with several standard macroinvertebrate diversity indices and water chemistry data. In contrast, the macroinvertebrate indices showed significant correlation to site rankings based on water chemistry. Hoever, even these commonly used bioindicators did not show consistency in their designation of the water quality at each site. The data from this study suggest that the use of decomposition rates as a stand-alone indicator of water quality may not be possible, but it is still a valuable tool in understanding the biological processes within a stream system.

Copyright

© Mark Penticuff

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Dissertation/Thesis

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