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Vital sign, biomonitoring, macroinvertebrates, metrics


The National Park Service (NPS) Inventory and Monitoring program seeks to define vital signs for the purpose of monitoring and managing park conditions throughout the United States. Aquatic macroinvertebrate biotic integrity ranks high as one potential vital sign of interest to park staff and partnering agencies. The objective of this effort was to identify discriminating measures of invertebrate community structure which might be used to monitor aquatic biotic integrity. Invertebrate sweepnet samples were collected from 58 large river, stream, spring and bison watering hole habitats during the summers of 2004 and 2005. Invertebrate counts were used to calculate 68 metrics of abundance, diversity, guild structure and pollution tolerance. A metric selection process was implemented to maximize between-site discriminatory power, reduce informational redundancy and maximize detection of anthropogenic disturbance. Two sets of 10 metrics each were selected using this process for future monitoring of wadeable and non-wadeable stream sites within the NGPN. Optimal sets consisted of metrics describing community structure, diversity, guild structure and pollution tolerance and all metrics displayed good discriminatory power between sampled sites. A total of 47 significant correlations were observed among wadeable stream metrics and measures of water quality, channel habitat and riparian condition. Only 19 significant correlations were observed for non-wadeable stream metrics. Wadeable stream metrics correlated poorly with stream size but 6 of 10 nonwadeable stream metrics were significantly correlated with drainage area. Several of the metrics selected from this process are currently in use by U.S. EPA, USGS and the states of Nebraska and Wyoming. Thus, the value of NPS monitoring data to partner agencies is high. Selected metrics will be incorporated into habitat specific indices of biotic integrity to facilitate vital signs monitoring by the National Park Service.

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Proceedings of the South Dakota Academy of Science



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