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Keywords:

  • Artificial substrate;
  • Benthic macroinvertebrates;
  • In situ;
  • Recruitment;
  • Embeddedness

Abstract

Stream-deposited sediment is one of the major stressors affecting stream biota. Several methods exist to quantify stream sediment embeddedness, but they are relatively qualitative and operationally defined. The authors developed a short-term in situ embeddedness chamber method to measure aquatic insect recruitment and associated sediment accumulation in a more quantitative, better replicated manner. With sediment accumulation and aquatic insect recruitment as endpoints, three exposure periods were evaluated (4, 7, and 14 d) on a low-order stream (Honey Creek, New Carlisle, Ohio, USA) and a medium-order stream (Stillwater River, Covington, Ohio, USA). Chamber results show significant positive correlations between newly deposited fine sediment and insect recruitment. Embeddedness was also measured using the more conventional techniques of the Burns method and the U.S. Geological Survey National Water Quality Assessment Program method. This in situ chamber method allows for increased experimental options for assessing the stress of embeddedness and siltation on benthic communities and may prove useful for investigating the resilience of benthic communities after disturbances. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2012; 31: 1098–1106. © 2012 SETAC