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Benthic macroinvertebrate field sampling effort required to produce a sample adequate for the assessment of rivers and streams of Neuquén Province, Argentina

Flotemersch, Joseph E., Saavedra, Julieta Muñiz, Laffitte, Lorena, Laurenzano, Betina, Bonardi, Marisol Abelli, Blocksom, Karen A.
Limnologica 2017 v.65 pp. 55-60
macroinvertebrates, rivers, streams, Argentina
This multi-year pilot study evaluated a proposed field method for its effectiveness in the collection of a benthic macroinvertebrate sample adequate for use in the condition assessment of streams and rivers in the Neuquén Province, Argentina. A total of 13 sites, distributed across three rivers, were sampled. At each site, benthic macroinvertebrates were collected at 11 transects. Each sample was processed independently in the field and laboratory. Based on a literature review and resource considerations, the collection of 300 organisms (minimum) at each site was determined to be necessary to support a robust condition assessment, and therefore, selected as the criterion for judging the adequacy of the method. This targeted number of organisms was collected at all sites, at a minimum, when collections from all 11 transects were combined. Subsequent bootstrapping analysis of data was used to estimate whether collecting at fewer transects would reach the minimum target number of organisms for all sites. In a subset of sites, the total number of organisms frequently fell below the target when fewer than 11 transects collections were combined.Site conditions where <300 organisms might be collected are discussed. These preliminary results suggest that the proposed field method results in a sample that is adequate for robust condition assessment of the rivers and streams of interest. When data become available from a broader range of sites, the adequacy of the field method should be reassessed.