Event Title

An Assessment of Macroinvertebrate Communities in Three Headwater Streams Reveals Sensitivity to Road Crossings

Presenter Information

Emily Arsenault, Colby CollegeFollow

Location

Parker-Reed, SSWAC

Start Date

1-5-2014 10:00 AM

End Date

1-5-2014 11:00 AM

Project Type

Poster- Restricted to Campus Access

Description

Benthic macroinvertebrate communities are commonly studied for the assessment of aquatic ecosystem health. Understanding functional roles and trophic positions within a community can validate water quality inferences made from rapid biomonitoring. This research focused on three streams within the Kennebec Highlands region. Studies of nutrient cycling and metabolism reported similar water quality between these sites, but a survey of invertebrate communities suggested otherwise. While two of the stream sites exhibited a %EPT of 62.4 and 74.6, respectively and outstanding Hilsenhoff Biotic Index (HBI) values of 3.50 and 3.51, the stream with a road crossing in its study reach was significantly worse. The transect immediately downstream from the crossing displayed the worst water of any other transect in this study, with a %EPT of 21.7 and a HBI of 5.2. Stable isotope analysis was used to investigate how road crossings might impact trophic structure by altering availability of food sources like algal biofilms or promoting changes in functional feeding roles. As central Maine undergoes more development, as it will be important to have a baseline food web that explains current conditions in the case of future restoration efforts.

Sponsoring Department

Colby College. Environmental Studies Program

CLAS Field of Study

Interdisciplinary Studies

Event Website

http://www.colby.edu/clas

ID

159

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May 1st, 10:00 AM May 1st, 11:00 AM

An Assessment of Macroinvertebrate Communities in Three Headwater Streams Reveals Sensitivity to Road Crossings

Parker-Reed, SSWAC

Benthic macroinvertebrate communities are commonly studied for the assessment of aquatic ecosystem health. Understanding functional roles and trophic positions within a community can validate water quality inferences made from rapid biomonitoring. This research focused on three streams within the Kennebec Highlands region. Studies of nutrient cycling and metabolism reported similar water quality between these sites, but a survey of invertebrate communities suggested otherwise. While two of the stream sites exhibited a %EPT of 62.4 and 74.6, respectively and outstanding Hilsenhoff Biotic Index (HBI) values of 3.50 and 3.51, the stream with a road crossing in its study reach was significantly worse. The transect immediately downstream from the crossing displayed the worst water of any other transect in this study, with a %EPT of 21.7 and a HBI of 5.2. Stable isotope analysis was used to investigate how road crossings might impact trophic structure by altering availability of food sources like algal biofilms or promoting changes in functional feeding roles. As central Maine undergoes more development, as it will be important to have a baseline food web that explains current conditions in the case of future restoration efforts.

http://digitalcommons.colby.edu/clas/2014/program/157