Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Leonard Smock


The structure and composition of benthic macroinvertebrate communities can vary spatially and over time. Spatial and temporal variation along a stream has many implications for population and community dynamics, which may influence bioassessment programs. I examined variability in the benthic community of eight streams within the Polecat Creek, Virginia watershed. These streams vary in size from 1st to 4th order. The streams were sampled once every season for eleven years using standard bioassessment protocols. Macroinvertebrates were sampled from both sediment and submerged wood habitats at each site. The coefficient of variation (CV) was used to quantify among season, among year and among site variability of eight community metrics from both the sediment and wood samples. ANOVAs were calculated using Tukey post-hoc test to determine if there were statistically significant differences in taxonomic richness and mean CV values across seasons, years and sites for both sediment and wood samples. Sorenson’s Quotient of Similarity was used to examine the extent of differences in the taxonomic composition of the macroinvertebrate communities among the four seasons over the 11 years of the study and among the 8 sampling sites. A high amount of variability was observed among seasons, sites and years. A wide range of CV values was observed among community metrics, with certain metrics exhibiting low overall mean CV values and others exhibiting very high overall mean CV values. It is important to understand the temporal and spatial variability of macroinvertebrates when planning biomonitoring programs.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2010

Included in

Biology Commons