Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences

Objective derivation of macro invertebrate family sensitivity grade numbers for the SIGNAL biotic index: application to the Hunter River system, New South Wales

Bruce C. Chessman, Jane E. Growns and Amanda R. Kotlash

Marine and Freshwater Research 48(2) 159 - 172
Published: 1997


Chessman's SIGNAL-95 biotic index was modified on the basis of data from spring and autumn surveys of macroinvertebrates at 42 sites in the Hunter River and tributaries. An iterative algorithm was used to derive improved grade numbers reflecting the pollution sensitivities of individual families of river macroinvertebrates. The new grades were used to calculate values of the modified index (SIGNAL-HU97). These values were highly correlated with SIGNAL-95 values but were more widely spread, giving better discrimination between the sites of higher environmental quality and the more degraded sites. SIGNAL-HU97 values were also more highly correlated than were SIGNAL-95 values with environmental variables such as the conductivity of the water and a riparian, channel and environmental inventory. There was little difference in values between spring and autumn, but riffles consistently had higher mean values than other habitats.

Keywords: benthos, biological monitoring, water quality.

© CSIRO 1997

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