System-wide spatial patterns of ichthyoplankton abundance and variability were assessed in the upper Mississippi and lower Illinois rivers to address the experimental design and statistical confidence in density estimates. Ichthyoplankton was sampled from June to August 1989 in primary milieus (vegetated and non- vegetated backwaters and impounded areas, main channels and main channel borders) in three navigation pools (8, 13 and 26) of the upper Mississippi River and in a downstream reach of the Illinois River. Ichthyoplankton densities varied among stations of similar aquatic landscapes (milieus) more than among subsamples within a station. An analysis of sampling effort indicated that the collection of single samples at many stations in a given milieu type is statistically and economically preferable to the collection of multiple subsamples at fewer stations. Cluster analyses also revealed that stations only generally grouped by their preassigned milieu types. Pilot studies such as this can define station groupings and sources of variation beyond an a priori habitat classification. Thus the minimum intensity of sampling required to achieve a desired statistical confidence can be identified before implementing monitoring efforts.
Additional publication details
Ichthyoplankton abundance and variance in a large river system concerns for long-term monitoring