Thesis Title

A Comparison of the Index of Biotic Integrity by Habitat Type in Swan Creek, Southwest Missouri

Date of Graduation

Summer 2003


Master of Science in Biology



Committee Chair

Daniel Beckman


A multimetric Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) based on fish communities was used to score Missouri streams as an assessment of stream health. During summer 2002 we sampled Swan Creek, a 5th order stream in Southwest Missouri, which flows into the White River system. We sampled 19 sites, collecting 59 species and 17,622 individuals. Each sampling site was selected randomly and then sampled to determine fish composition. We sampled stream reaches varying in length from 150 to 300 meters, depending on average wetted widths. Within these reaches we sampled individual habitats, runs, pools, and/or riffles, and scored them in the same manner. Scores from the specific habitats were then compared to the scores from that site's entire stream reach. Scores from the individual habitats were consistently lower than those from the entire stream reaches, with only a few exceptions. The IBI scores for entire stream reaches ranged from 46 to 87, with a mean score of 71. The individual habitat IBI scores ranged from 28 to 89, with a mean score of 56 (run habitats mean =63, pools=54, and riffles=51). There were significant relationships (p<.05) between the overall IBI scores and the habitat IBI scores. Overall IBI scores explained 58% of the variability in individual habitat scores, 70% of the variability in run habitat scores, and 70% of the variability in pool habitat scores. There was not significant relationship between overall IBI scores and riffle habitat scores. The combination of run and pool habitats were significantly related to overall IBI scores, with 70% of the variability explained.

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