Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Benthic Macroinvertebrate Assemblages in Flint River and Flint Creek Watersheds in North Alabama- Preliminary Study.

Rufina Ward1, Lesley White1, Allison Bohlman1, and Teferi Tsegaye2. (1) Alabama A&M Univ, Dept. of Plant and Soil Science, P.O. Box 1208, Normal, AL 35806, (2) Alabama A&M University Accounts Payable, 110 Marysa Drive, Huntsville, AL 35811-8768

Flint River and Flint Creek are major tributaries to the Tennessee River which supplies drinking water and provides recreation areas to residents of Madison and other counties in north Alabama. The quality of water draining from these watersheds is of primary importance to the public. Benthic macroinvertebrates are excellent indicators of water pollution such as turbidity and nutrient loads.  The assessment of aquatic biodiversity is widely used to strengthen continuing measures of water quality in north Alabama. This preliminary study was conducted to determine taxa richness (total number of taxa) and composition [% Ephemeroptera-Plecoptera-Trichoptera (EPT); % Ephemeroptera (E)] of macroinvertebrates occurring in Flint River and Flint Creek; these insect groups are known to be sensitive to increasing perturbations. In this study, spring-summer aquatic insect samplings were done at monthly intervals in three locations along each tributary using surber, dip net, kick net and leaf packs. Our preliminary results showed high dominance of Ephemeroptera in Flint River where mayfly populations were an order of magnitude larger than stonefly and caddisfly populations. Chironomids and simuliids comprised the majority of the Dipterans collected. However, collections from Flint Creek showed Elmidae or riffle beetles as the most prevalent group, followed by Dipterans dominated mostly by chironomids.  Riparian and stream characteristics were described for each sampling location.

Handout (.ppt format, 3354.0 kb)