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Cross-channel variability in benthic habitat

January 1, 2003

Benthic invertebrates play an important role in estuarine food webs and biogeochemical cycling of carbon, nutrients, and contaminants. The generally sedentary benthic invertebrates continuously integrate local water, sediment, and food conditions. This makes them good indicators of the type and quality of aquatic habitat at the location where they are found.

The Interagency Ecological Program’s Environmental Monitoring Program (EMP) has monitored benthic invertebrates since the mid-1970s. A recent review of the EMP found that the spatial study design of the benthos monitoring element was in need of a thorough reexamination through intense special studies and extensive historic data analyses. This article reports the results of preliminary analyses of historical EMP data focusing on cross-channel variability. Specific questions are: (1) do benthic habitats and community assemblages vary between positions across a river channel? (2) Are benthic samples taken at a single channel position sufficiently representative of benthos assemblages across the channel to characterize long term changes in the benthos community of a particular section of a river?

Publication Year 2003
Title Cross-channel variability in benthic habitat
Authors Marc Vayssieres, Heather Peterson
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Interagency Ecological Program Newsletter
Index ID 70174592
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization San Francisco Bay-Delta; Pacific Regional Director's Office