Density and Richness of Benthic Invertebrate Populations in the North Sydenham River of Southwestern Ontario (1996-2000) Compared with Those of the St. Clair River (1990-1995)

I. W. E. Harris, C. F. Drury, R. R. Simard, T. Q. Zhang


Richness (the number of invertebrate families/sample site) and density (the number of invertebrates/sq m) of benthic populations in the North Sydenham River were measured and compared with similar estimates for the St. Clair River. Seventeen sample sites were examined from May to October over five consecutive years. At each sample site, particle size distribution of the sediment, sediment temperature, total phosphorous, total nitrogen, total carbon, and water flow rate were measured. Physical and chemical characteristics of the North Sydenham system over the 100 km run examined were less variable than those of the St. Clair. Statistically significant but weak multiple linear correlations were found for richness and density with several of the measured variables. Invertebrate populations in the North Sydenham River were less rich and less dense than those in the downstream reach of the St. Clair and exhibited a different distribution of abundance among the orders of organisms. As in the St. Clair River, some evidence of long term cycling of abundance in several families of invertebrates was found in the North Sydenham.


benthic invertebrates; richness; density; North Sydenham River; Southwestern Ontario; sediments; nitrogen; phosphorous; organic debris; St. Clair River

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