Species diversity and numbers of benthic macroinvertebrates were determined at 12 sites, both canals and marshes, in the Everglades of south Florida. The values calculated are used to indicate long-term trends in water quality and variations between study areas.
Species diversity at all sites was generally in a range indicative of degraded water quality. The number of organisms per square metre of bottom surface was highly variable ranging from 43 to 8,200 organisms.
Chemical analysis of water and bottom material indicated no gross contamination from sewage or agricultural runoff in any of the canals where benthic organisms were collected. Other physical factors such as depth, velocity of flow, substrate type, and water-level fluctuation were responsible for the low species diversities and variable numbers of organisms, rather than contamination from urban or agricultural areas.
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USGS Numbered Series
Analysis of selected benthic communities in Florida Everglades with reference to their physical and chemical environment