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Macroinvertebrate Study

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In April of 2010, Aquatic Resources was asked to determine the primary environmental stressors that influence the integrity of aquatic macroinvertebrate (benthic) communities in the Eastern KY Coalfields. Aquatic Resources accomplished this task by developing a study that initially characterized the benthic “quality” at over 35 sample locations then provided ecologically-based explanations of their character through statistically-significant analyses. Utilizing both field and remote sensing data collection techniques, physical, chemical, and land use information was gathered on a benthic site-specific basis.  Subsequently, a suite of multivariate analyses were used to determine significant correlations between the biological and environmental data.  The results of the analyses were then interpreted ecologically based on macroinvertebrate physiological constraints.

The results of this study indicated that there are a host of significant variables that determine community diversity in the Eastern KY coal fields. A particular emphasis of the importance of stream physical integrity was the most significant highlight of the results.  The template of this benthic study will allow surface mining applicants the opportunity to prove or disprove the association of coal mining impacts on biodiversity.


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