The Importance of Macro Invertebrate Identification and Analysis in Urban Stream Ecology

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Isabella Leisgang
Ciara Patterson
Elias Aidun
Ken Petren


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

Advisor: Ken Petren

Presentation ID: 262

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. We hypothesize that less urbanized streams will have more biodiversity. 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. Results showed differences between the urban and nonurban stream sites with species variations and population counts. There were more species counted in the nonurban streams so we can accept our hypothesis. However, there were some exceptions to the patterns in both urban and nonurban streams locations that require further study.

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Category: The Natural World