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Scientific Investigations Report 2009–5055

National Water-Quality Assessment Program

Biological-Community Composition in Small Streams and its Relations to Habitat, Nutrients, and Land Use in Agriculturally Dominated Landscapes in Indiana and Ohio, 2004, and Implications for Assessing Nutrient Conditions in Midwest Streams

By Brian J. Caskey and Jeffrey W. Frey

Abstract

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The objective of this study was to relate algal-, invertebrate-, and fish-community composition to habitat, nutrients, and land-use variables in small streams in agriculturally dominated landscapes of the Midwest in Indiana and Ohio. Thirty sample locations were selected from a single ecoregion; all were small wadable streams within agriculturally dominated landscapes with similar substrate and canopy. Biological and nutrient samples were collected during stable flow conditions in August 2004. Canonical correspondence analysis was used to determine which variables most influenced each community. Total phosphorus concentrations significantly influenced the depositional-targeted habitat algal-diatom community and the richest-targeted habitat invertebrate community. Multivariate statistical analysis showed that habitat variables were more influential to the richest-targeted habitat algal-diatom and fish communities than nutrient concentrations. Although the nutrient concentrations measured during this study indicate that most streams were not eutrophic, the biological communities were dominated by eutrophic species, suggesting streams sampled were eutrophic. Consequently, it was concluded that biological relations to nutrients in agriculturally dominated landscapes are complex and habitat variables should be included in biological assessments of nutrient conditions in agriculturally dominated landscapes.

Posted June 16, 2009

For additional information contact:
Director, Indiana Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
5957 Lakeside Boulevard
Indianapolis, IN 46278–1996
http://in.water.usgs.gov/

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Suggested citation:

Caskey, B.J., and Frey, J.W., 2009, Biological-community composition in small streams and its relations to habitat, nutrients, and land use in agriculturally dominated landscapes in Indiana and Ohio, 2004, and implications for assessing nutrient conditions in Midwest streams: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2009–5055, 21 p., plus CD-Rom containing four appendixes.



Contents

Foreword

Abstract

Introduction

Study Methods

Description of the Sampled Basins

Implications for Assessing Nutrient Conditions in Midwest Streams

Conclusions

Acknowledgments

References Cited

Appendix 1.  Species list and percent relative abundance of Depositional-Targeted Habitat (DTH) algal-diatom community at 30 sites in the
                  White River and Great and Little Miami River Basins (WHMI) Study Unit of the National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA)
                  Program, 2004

Appendix 2.  Species list and percent relative abundance of Richest-Targeted Habitat (RTH) algal-diatom community at 30 sites in the
                  White River and Great and Little Miami River Basins (WHMI) Study Unit of the National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA)
                  Program, 2004

Appendix 3.  Species list and percent relative abundance of Richest-Targeted Habitat (RTH) invertebrate community at 30 sites in the
                  White River and Great and Little Miami River Basins (WHMI) Study Unit of the National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA)
                  Program, 2004

Appendix 4.  Species list and percent relative abundance of fish community at 30 sites in the White River and Great and Little Miami
                  River Basins (WHMI) Study Unit of the National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program, 2004



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