The Importance of Macroinvertebrate Identification and Analysis in Urban Stream Ecology

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Ciara Patterson
Isabella Leisgang
Elias Aidun
Kenneth Petren


By Ciara Patterson, Biological Sciences and Environmental Studies; Isabella Leisgang, Biological Sciences; Elias Aidun, Biological Sciences

Advisor: Kenneth Petren

Presentation ID: 243

Abstract: The range of macroinvertebrate species that inhabit streams allow us to gauge the water, habitat, and nutritional quality of the given bodies of water. Specific species can be good indicators of ecosystem health due to their roles in the stream nutrient cycle. The purpose of this experiment was to assess the quality of urban streams throughout the greater Cincinnati area by the collection and analysis of the macroinvertebrates that live in these waters. Most of the macroinvertebrates we are specifically in search of tend to be sensitive to disturbances, such as Mayflies, Stoneflies and Caddisflies. To see a lack of more sensitive species compared to more tolerant species might reflect an ecosystem health imbalance. Methods for collection included building and submerging Hester-Dendy Traps into multiple specific stream locations for a desired amount of time. These stream locations include Congress Run, Mt. Airy White Pines, Caldwell Creek, French Park, Indian Creek Spring, Howard's Creek and Cooper Creek. Cooper Creek is the main focus of our group because it is a demonstration watershed being studied by Hamilton County Conservation District and the US EPA. This creek is the site of a restoration experiment using wooden structures to restore ecosystem health. These qualities make Cooper Creek an excellent testing site to view possible benefits that these structures may have added and as a comparison to less urban stream sites for future research.

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Category: The Natural World