Freshwater macroinvertebrates (which include insects, worms and snails) play a significant role in the aquatic food chain as grazers of river algae and as a food source for fish and birds.
The species and abundances of macroinvertebrates found in a stream or river depend largely on the quality of the water and habitat.
Changes in either of these two features can influence the make up of a macroinvertebrate community in a river. Because of the sensitivity of freshwater macroinvertebrates to water quality and/or habitat change, they are very useful biological indicators for assessing the environmental status of a waterway.
Cawthron scientists can provide advice on the status of a river's health based on the composition of the communities found in rivers and streams.
Cawthron capabilities in this area include:
- Benthic macroinvertebrate ecology
- Aquatic invertebrate drift behaviour and ecology
- Aquatic algae/invertebrate relationships
- Freshwater invertebrate taxonomy
- Biological monitoring
- Freshwater ecological impact assessment
For more information, contact Karen Shearer.