PW18 Field Biological Monitoring of Ecosystem Impairment
Exhibit Hall
8:00 AM - Wednesday

(PW269) Assessment of littoral benthic macroinvertebrate communities as bioindicators in lakes and reservoirs of the Sierra Nevada, USA.

Mehling, M1, Tylka, M1, Oris, J1, 1 Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, USA

ABSTRACT- Lakes and reservoirs of the Sierra Nevada are ecologically diverse and vary in their sources and degrees of human impact. Assessment lakes and reservoirs were selected along an a priori gradient of human impact. The littoral benthic macroinvertebrate community assemblages were assessed for their efficacy of predicting ecological condition and degree of human disturbance in these systems. Macroinvertebrates were collected from 16 lakes and reservoirs of the Sierra Nevada during the summers of 2002 and 2003. Macroinvertebrates were identified and analyzed with ecological and human impact variables. Results indicated littoral benthic macroinvertebrate communities' differences were most strongly associated with hydrologic regimes and site characteristics. Littoral benthic macroinvertebrate surveys used in combination with other physiological and ecological indicators provided a robust method to assess the human impacts in regions of diverse ecosystems. This study provides much needed baseline macroinvertebrate community data, contributes to the overall understanding of anthropogenic impacts in montane ecosystems, and assists in refining management strategies for lakes and reservoirs of the western United States.

Key words: Sierra Nevada, macroinvertebrates, bioindicators, lentic

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