Date of Submission

Fall 2017

Academic Programs and Concentrations

Environmental and Urban Studies

Project Advisor 1

Robyn Smyth

Project Advisor 2

Eli Dueker

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Evaluation of the biotic integrity of dynamic lotic environments is crucial to maintaining the successful functioning of watershed ecosystems. Routine biological monitoring is necessary to identify the influence of environmental degradation on aquatic life and measure the effects of both short and long-term environmental variation. Though New York State has a rich history of statutory biological monitoring along Hudson River tributaries, longitudinal analyses of benthic macroinvertebrate data using multidimensional scaling (MDS) and multimetric indices (MMI) are limited. Here, I use six family-level metric indices, multidimensional scaling (MDS) and indicator species analysis to evaluate biotic integrity along the Saw Kill River (Annandale, NY). Invertebrate collection took place between August 1st and September 2nd, 2017 at 3 distinct locations along the Saw Kill. Historical data from Budd and Strayer (1998) were incorporated into compositional analysis to assess the influence of global change, changing land-use, and land-use intensity on invertebrate communities. The results indicate a significant change in benthic macroinvertebrate communities of the Saw Kill over time as well as legacies of historical land-use in reported species composition and richness scores. Increasing evenness and richness of invertebrate communities at each site suggest an increase in biological integrity throughout the stream reach sampled despite evidence of global change. Although I do not demonstrate causal links between changing land-use (reforestation of catchment area, decreasing agricultural/mixed uses, etc.) and in-stream invertebrate composition, these data suggest linked changes. This study demonstrates the value of long-term longitudinal data sets and supports the conclusion that longitudinal biological assessment of lotic ecosystems can provide valuable insight into existing anthropogenic influences on riverine environments and the application of future watershed development plans.

Open Access Agreement

On-Campus only

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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