Date of Award
Honors Thesis Number
I sampled fourteen reclaimed surface mine lakes within the Sparta Illinois National Guard training facility for benthic macroinvertebrates in spring of 2003 as part of an overall environmental assessment of the property. The objectives of this research were: (1) to inventory the aquatic macroinvertebrates present; (2) to evaluate the current quality of the aquatic habitats so that the effects of subsequent management and development by the National Guard can be assessed; (3) examine which factors influence invertebrate community structure in these systems; and (4) observe the applicability of several commonly used stream bioassessment metrics to Midwestern surface mine lakes. A dip net was swept over 2 or 3 two-meter transects of littoral zones of each lake, from which 300 macroinvertebrates were randomly removed following rapid bioassessment protocols. Macroinvertebrates were identified primarily to genus and a multimetric approach was used to examine community structure and tolerance. Oligochaetes were typically the most abundant taxon, followed by Hyallela, Chironomidae, Physa, and Caenis. I used a principal components analysis and forward stepwise multiple regressions to examine the effects of several lake variables on diversity metrics. Simpson diversity was positively correlated (r2 = 0.92, P = 0.0003) with lake area, percent rock and gravel substrate, Simazine concentration, bank slope, and transparency. Percent collector-gatherer and percent predator metrics were negatively correlated (RSq = 0.93), suggesting that each will only be abundant in the absence of the other and also that other functional groups were poorly represented in these systems or are represented by organisms other than macroinvertebrates, Additionally, percent predators were positively correlated (r2 = 0.89, P = 0.0018) with chlorophyll a, alkalinity, and atrazine concentration while percent collector-gatherers were negatively correlated (r2 = 0.83, P = 0.0055) to these same variables, Species richness, Shannon diversity, percent insect taxa, and percent contribution by the dominant taxon all proved to be practical indices for this study, while a Hilsenhoffindex and EPT (Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera) did not show enough variability to be useful.