A Strategy for Use of Multivariate Methods of Analysis of Benthic Macroinvertebrate Communities to Assess Mine-Related Ecological Stress.

Boyle, Terry P. ; Gustina, Gregory W.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 7
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2000
Analysis of the structure of the benthic macroinvertebrate community, consisting of the number of taxa and the relative distribution of total numbers, is a routine method of assessing the ecological quality of streams. Various multivariate statistical techniques, which assess the structural variability of the benthic macroinvertebrate community and the relationship of that variability with natural and anthropogenic environmental variables, have utility in separation of the various physical and chemical factors associated with impact. Multivariate methodology, while computationally complex is statistically rigorous and better integrates physical, chemical, and biological data for more synthetic interpretation. Using the multivariate analysis technique, canonical correspondence analysis, we have analyzed a number of sites in the upper Boulder River Basin, Montana to determine which are the important environmental variables associated with variation in community structure. The results of this analysis an integrated with more traditional analysis of community structure and incorporated in a risk analysis for the mediation of abandoned mines and mill sites within the watershed.
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