Development and Evaluation of an Index of Biotic Integrity for macroinvertebrates in New York Lakes

Elizabeth Stieber


"Increased human development including urban expansion, deforestation, and alteration of shorelines around aquatic ecosystems has led to an input of pollutants, loss of habitat for aquatic organisms, and impairment of water quality. Macroinvertebrates have become focal organisms for monitoring and assessment of freshwater systems because macroinvertebrate sampling is cost and time efficient, they are unable to easily relocate in response to disturbed conditions, and they have varying levels of sensitivity to pollutants. Macroinvertebrates were sampled from the littoral zone of 51 reference (best attainable condition) and test lakes of low and high alkalinity classes for the development of a macroinvertebrate Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) for use in New York lakes. Water chemistry and land-use variables were examined as drivers of IBI scores and macroinvertebrate assemblages. Variables related to eutrophication, loss of percent natural cover, and increased human development appear to be drivers of macroinvertebrate assemblages in New York lakes."