Date of Graduation

Fall 2008


Master of Science in Biology



Committee Chair

Daniel Beckman


A multi-metric Buffalo River Index of Community Integrity (BRICI) was developed by the National Park Service to assess the aquatic invertebrate community of the Buffalo River, Arkansas. The BRICI has been successfully used on the main-stem of the river, but not evaluated on tributaries in the watershed. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the BRICI, comprised of 10 metrics, on tributaries in the Buffalo River watershed and then compare them to the Missouri Stream Community Index (SCI) that uses only four individual metrics. Available water-quality, habitat, and watershed-level geospatial data were used to determine which index serves as the better predictor of community integrity in the watershed. Based on significant findings, the BRICI appears to be more responsive than the SCI to the local and regional environmental factors of the composition, vegetation, specific conductance, and nitrogen levels. It was more consistent in detecting changes in impairment over time at one year and ten year intervals of available data. Similarity among invertebrate distributions generally reflects the BRICI impairment findings indicating that the BRICI is appropriate for use for all tributaries within the watershed and across ecoregions.


aquatic invertebrate, community index, multi-metric, bioassessment, Buffalo River, Arkansas, water-quality

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© Janice Arlene Mixon-Hinsey

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