The response of stream benthic invertebrates to surficially deposited fine sediment was investigated in 4 Missouri streams. Twenty to 24 sampling sites in each stream were selected based on similarities of substrate particle-size distributions, depths, and current velocities but for differences in amounts of deposited sediment, which ranged from 0 to 100% surface cover. Deposited sediment was quantified 2 ways: a visual estimate of % surface cover, and a measurement of substrate embeddedness, which were highly correlated with each other and with the amount of sand. Invertebrates were collected using a kicknet for a specified time in a 1-m2 area. Five commonly used biomonitoring metrics (taxa richness, density, Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera [EPT] richness, EPT density, and EPT/Chironomidae richness) were consistently significantly correlated across streams to deposited sediment. Shannon diversity index, Chironomidae richness, Chironomidae density, a biotic index, and % dominant taxon did not relate to increasing levels of deposited sediment. Tolerance values representing taxa responses to deposited sediment were developed for 30 taxa. Deposited-sediment tolerance values were not correlated with biotic index tolerance values, indicating a different response by taxa to deposited sediment than to organic enrichment. Deposited-sediment tolerance values were used to develop the Deposited Sediment Biotic Index (DSBI). The DSBI was calculated for all samples (n = 85) to characterize sediment impairment of the sampled streams. DSBI values for each site were highly correlated with measures of deposited sediment. Model validation by a resampling procedure confirmed that the DSBI is a potentially useful tool for assessing ecological effects of deposited sediment.
Additional publication details
Biomonitoring for deposited sediment using benthic invertebrates: A test on 4 Missouri streams
Journal of the North American Benthological Society