Biological Monitoring of Aquatic Ecosystems- Comparison of Biotic and Diversity Indices
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Biological monitoring of aquatic ecosystems is a field in ecology that uses stream organisms to indicate the health of a given system. There are multiple methods and indices that have been established to be used as a basis for monitoring levels of pollution in waterways. Macroinvertebrates are most commonly used in biological monitoring for a multitude of reasons. The main reason they are used is because they are susceptible to degradation of water, sediment, and habitat, and therefore serve as good indicators of localized environmental conditions (USEPA). This study examines how adequate the Water Action Volunteers citizen monitoring biotic index compares to more quantified ecological measures such as Shannon’s index of diversity. The Root River in Racine and the Pike River in Kenosha were used as sampling sites to compare the two indices being used. Using the macroinvertebrate community, this study showed that both indices were effective in monitoring the health of the rivers. Overall, it was shown that the WAV index, even though an abbreviated method when compared to other diversity indices is an adequate index that should continue to be used in the monitoring of Wisconsin’s Rivers.
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