Benthic Macroinvertebrates as Indexes of Water Quality in the Upper Cuyahoga River
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Citation:The Ohio Journal of Science. v88, n3 (June, 1988), 91-98
The upper Cuyahoga River in northeastern Ohio is the major source of domestic water for the City of Akron, an important recreational area, and a designated Ohio Scenic River. Indexes of water quality based on benthic invertebrate community composition indicate a wide range in water quality along the river, but overall water quality is relatively high compared to areas of the Cuyahoga River below Akron and to most nearby river systems. Highest quality areas are located in the most headwater region and in the lowermost region near Lake Rockwell. These areas are characterized by a large number of taxa (>50), moderate density of organisms (= 2,000/m2), high ratios of scraper-grazers to detritivores (>0.5), high ratios of amphipods to isopods, and less than 1% organic pollution-tolerant organisms. Moderate degradation of water quality due to organic sedimentation in these areas is indicated by large proportions of organic pollution-facultative organisms (27-66%), especially a great variety of chironomids. Lowest quality areas occur 1-2 km below waste water outfalls from small villages and below groups of rural streamside dwellings. These areas are characterized by up to 62% fewer species, very low ratios of amphipods to isopods (usually <2), and large proportions of organic pollution-facultative and tolerant organisms (43-95%), especially chironomids and oligochaetes.
Author Institution: Department of Biology and Center for Environmental Studies, The University of Akron
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