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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Macroinvertebrate Communities in Headwater Streams Affected by Acidic Precipitation in the Central Appalachians


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 24 No. 2, p. 233-238
    Received: June 7, 1993

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. Michael B. Griffith,
  2. Sue A. Perry * and
  3. William B. Perry
  1. National Biological Survey, West Virginia Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Division of Forestry, West Virginia Univ., Morgantown, WV 26506-6125.



We collected quantitative macroinvertebrate samples monthly from September 1989 to October 1990 from four streams on the Allegheny Plateau of West Virginia that were characterized by different bedrock geology and streamwater pH. Mean pH was 4.3, 6.1, 6.0, and 7.5 in the four streams. We compared species and functional group composition of the benthic macroinvertebrate community in these streams to choose taxa that could be used as indicator species for differences in pH in bioassessment studies. The streams differed in species composition and abundance and several species were found that could be used as indicators for each of the levels of pH. Higher densities of Amphinemura sp., Leuctra sp., Euryophella funeralis, and Paracapnia angulata were characteristic of the stream with a pH of 4.3. Higher densities of Peltoperla arcuata and Wormaldia moesta were found in the streams with a pH of about 6.0. Gammarus minus, Baetis sp., Ephemerella dorothea, and Sweltsa sp. were found at higher densities in the stream with a pH of 7.5.

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