Waite, I.R., A.T. Herlihy, D.P. Larsen, N.S. Urquhart, and D.J. Klemm. 2004. The effects of macroinvertebrate taxonomic resolution in large landscape bioassessments: an example from the Mid-Atlantic Highlands, U.S.A. Freshwater Biology 49:474-489. WED-02-044
During late spring 1993-1995, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP) sampled 490 wadeable streams in the Mid-Atlantic Highlands (MAH) of the U.S. for a variety of physical, chemical and biological indicators of environmental condition. We used the resulting data set to evaluate the importance of differing levels of macroinvertebrate taxonomic resolution in bioassessments by comparing the ability of family versus genus to detect differences among sites classified by type and magnitude of human impact and by stream size. We divided the MAH into two physiographic regions: the Appalachian Plateau where mine drainage (MD) and acidic deposition are major stressors, and the Ridge and Valley where nutrient enrichment is a major stressor. Stream sites were classified into three or four impact classes based on water chemistry and habitat. We used stream order (first to third Strahler order) in each region as a measure of stream size. Ordination, 2 x 2 chi-square and biotic metrics were used to compare the ability of family and genus to detect differences among both stressor and size classes.