Benthic Macroinvertebrates and Stream Health
Small watercourses, such as streams, are homes to lots of tiny animals that live on and under the rocks, on the water plants, or on bits of wood lying in the stream. These animals include larval insects, clams, mussels, worms, and leeches. Collectively they are called macroinvertebrates - animals without backbones - and can be seen with the naked eye. Macroinvertebrates are a good indicator of stream health. An experienced biologist, with only a cursory examination of the macroinvertebrate assemblage, can determine the site-specific conditions of a stream. The Rapid Bioassessment (RBA) has become one of the standard methods to gather such biological data. This segment provided participants with a discussion, including identification, of stream macroinvertebrates; a review of the RBA method; a hands-on exercise to identify organisms and determine the health of a hypothetical stream; and ended with an optional field stream survey demonstration.
Supplemental Training Materials
Content last updated November 20, 2012