Are bioassessments based on the reference condition approach affected by rapid approaches to sample collection and processing?

  • Amanda Valois | amanda.valois@otago.ac.nz University of Otago, New Zealand.
  • Keith Somers Dorset Environmental Science Centre, Canada.
  • Chantal Sarrazin-Delay Vale Living with Lakes Centre, Canada.
  • Wendel (Bill) Keller Vale Living with Lakes Centre, Canada.

Abstract

Benthic invertebrates are used by a number of agencies worldwide as indicators for assessing stream health, which has resulted in the development of a variety of protocols for collecting and processing benthic samples. The large number of methods used means that calibration of data collection is not always possible, but if different methods produce similar estimates of community composition and metric values, then sharing of data can make bioassessments more efficient. This study explored the effect of two approaches to subsampling and sorting of benthic invertebrates on community composition, calculation of metrics, and assessment of stream health. We compared two commonly used sampling methods: a rapid approach, employing live, unaided sorting and a standard approach using microscope sorting of preserved samples, through a comparison of replicate samples collected from 61 streams. This study found that both methods resulted in similar estimates of community composition at a site, as determined by the Bray-Curtis similarity index. However, the live sorting methodology resulted in greater family richness and higher estimates of metrics that reflect large taxa (i.e., %EPT). Despite differences in a number of metrics, both methods performed equally well at identifying impairment in the test sites, with livesorting samples slightly more sensitive.

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Author Biographies

Amanda Valois, University of Otago
Department of Zoology, graduate student
Keith Somers, Dorset Environmental Science Centre
Biostatistician
Chantal Sarrazin-Delay, Vale Living with Lakes Centre
Aquatic Assessment Biologist
Wendel (Bill) Keller, Vale Living with Lakes Centre
Director, Climate Change and Multiple Stressor Aquatic Research
Published
2016-03-24
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Issue
Section
Original Articles
Supporting Agencies
Vale Living with Lakes Centre
Keywords:
Benthic invertebrates, rapid bioassessment, stream health.
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How to Cite
1.
Valois A, Somers K, Sarrazin-Delay C, Keller W (Bill). Are bioassessments based on the reference condition approach affected by rapid approaches to sample collection and processing?. J Limnol [Internet]. 2016Mar.24 [cited 2021May7];75(2). Available from: https://jlimnol.it/index.php/jlimnol/article/view/jlimnol.2016.1388