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BMI Lab Report

Sample Collected May 5th, 2015

Lab Conducted February 2nd, 2017

Report by Tiernan Spencer

SUS 410
Colorado Mountain College

On May 5th, 2015, Dr. Miskwa Yellowknife stopped by a river outside of Ouray,

Colorado to collect some data by an abandoned mine. The purpose of the collection

was to examine any pollution in the river due to mine drainage. Samples of benthic

macroinvertebrates were collected both above and below the site of the mine, as the

presence of pollution tolerant or intolerant species is an important indicator to the health

of the river. The data my group personally researched was located below the mine.

Water Quality Data

Above Mine Below Mine

Temperature (Celcius) 10.5 8.85
pH 7.04 6.32
Conductivity (uS) 127 149.6
Alkalinity (mg/L CaCO3) 31.1 44.6
Hardness (mg/L CaCO3) 61 81
Dissolved Oxygen (mg/L) 7.3 7.84

The Shannon-Weiner Diversity Index

The Shannon-Weiner Diversity Index is an index that is commonly used to characterize

species diversity in a community, which accounts for both abundance and evenness of

the species present. The proportion of species i relative to the total number of species

(pi) is calculated, and then multiplied by the natural logarithm of this proportion (lnp i).

The resulting product is summed across species, and multiplied by -1. Conclusively, the

equation to get evenness through the Shannon-Weiner Diversity Index is as followed:

H = -sum ( pi ln [pi] )

Below the Mine:

Organism Below pi ln(pi) pi * ln(pi)

O. Hemiptera 8 0.057142857142 - -
8571 2.862200880929 0.163554336053
47 112
O. Amphipoda 114 0.814285714285 - -
714 0.205443974214 0.167290093289
809 201
O. Plecoptera: Perlodidae 1 0.007142857142 - -
85714 4.941642422609 0.035297445875
3 7808
O. Plecoptera: Common 2 0.014285714285 - -
Stonefly (Capniidae) 7143 4.248495242049 0.060692789172
36 1337
O. Trichoptera: Common 3 0.021428571428 - -
Net Spinner 5714 3.843030133941 0.082350645727
(Hydropsychidae) 19 3113
O. Odonata 11 0.078571428571 - -
4286 2.543747149810 0.199865847485
93 145
Snails 1 0.007142857142 - -
85714 4.941642422609 0.035297445875
3 7808
Totals 140 H = 0.743

Above the Mine:

Organism Above pi ln(pi) pi * ln(pi)

O. Hemiptera 1 0.014492753623 - -
1884 4.234106504597 0.061363862385
26 4675
O. Amphipoda 33 0.478260869565 - -
217 0.737598943130 0.352764711932
779 112
O. Plecoptera: Perlodidae 7 0.101449275362 - -
319 2.288196355541 0.232135862156
95 429
O. Diptera: 11 0.159420289855 - -
Chironomids 072 1.836211231798 0.292729326808
(Chironomidae) 89 518
O. Diptera: 1 0.014492753623 - -
Phantom Crane Flies 1884 4.234106504597 0.061363862385
(Tipulidae) 26 4675
O. Odonata 5 0.072463768115 - -
942 2.624668592163 0.190193376243
16 707
O. Ephemeroptera: 3 0.043478260869 - -
Small Minnow Mayfly 5652 3.135494215929 0.136325835475
(Ameletidae) 15 18
O. Trichoptera: 6 0.086956521739 - -
Free Living Caddis 1304 2.442347035369 0.212378003075
(Rhyacophilidae) 2 583
O. Coleoptera: 2 0.028985507246 - -
Pred. Diving Beetle 3768 3.540959324037 0.102636502146
(Dytiscidae) 31 009
Totals 69 H = 1.64


If H equals 1, the number of species is in complete evenness, or equitability. The

number 0.743 from below the mine site indicates that there is high diversity amongst the

species present. However, diversity indices provide more information than simply the

number of species present, as they account for rare species as well as being common.

DIfferent levels of disturbance have different effects on diversity. Above the mine, H =

1.64, which shows that there is moderate diversity within the sample. In conclusion, the

Shannon-Weiner Diversity Index serves as a valuable tool that enable biologists to

quantify diversity in a community and describe its numerical structure.

Percentage of EPT

The EPT Index estimates water quality by the relative abundance of three major orders

of stream insects that have low tolerance to water pollution. EPT can be expressed as a
percentage of the sensitive orders (E= Ephemeroptera, P= Plecoptera, T= Tricoptera) to

the total taxa found. In the sample examined below the mine site, Plecoptera and

Trichoptera microinvertebrate orders were found. To calculate the percentage of EPT,

take the total number of EPT divided by the total number of taxa and multiply it by 100

to get the percentage. The higher the number, the better the quality of the river.

For our lab, the total number of EPT is 6, divided by the total number (140), multiplied

by 100, equals 4.2857%. This indicates unhealthy water richness or quality.

The EPT/Chironomid Ratio

The EPT to Chironomid ratio is an indication of community balance. are organisms often

associated with high quality habitats. Good biotic conditions would be reflected in

communities with an even distribution among all four major groups. Skewed populations

having a disproportionate number of Chironomidae relative to the more sensitive

organisms, such as mayflies (Ephemeroptera), stoneflies (Plecoptera), and caddisflies

(Tricoptera), indicate environmental stress. In order to find the EPT to Chironomid Ratio,

a count of the EPT must be made as well as the number of chironomids. In this lab, the

number of ephemeroptera is 3, plecoptera is 10, and tricoptera is 9. In the sample

above the mine, 11 chironomids were found while below the mine there was no

presence of chironomids. Adding the numbers up, the EPT/chironomid ratio is:

3 + 10 + 9 = 22/11

22/11 = 2

The Hilsenhoff FBI

The Hilsenhoff Biotic Index (HBI) estimates the overall tolerance of the community in a

sampled area, weighted by the relative abundance of each taxonomic group (family,

genus, etc.). Organisms are assigned a tolerance number from 0 to 10 pertaining to that

group's known sensitivity to organic pollutants; 0 being most sensitive, 10 being most


Below the Mine:

Organism Below ai ni*ai ni*ai/total

O. Hemiptera 8 3 24 0.171428571428
O. Amphipoda 114 6 684 4.885714285714
O. Plecoptera: Perlodidae 1 2 2 0.014285714
O. Plecoptera: Common 2 1 2 0.014285714
Stonefly (Capniidae)
O. Trichoptera: Common 3 4 12 0.085714286
Net Spinner
O. Odonata 11 5 55 0.392857142857
Snails 1 8 8 0.057142857142
Totals 140 FBI = 5.5142857142

Above the Mine:

Organism Above ai ai*ni ni*ai/total

O. Hemiptera 1 3 3 0.043478260869
O. Amphipoda 33 6 198 2.869565217391
O. Plecoptera: Perlodidae 7 1 7 0.101449275362
O. Diptera: 11 6 66 0.956521739130
Chironomids 435
O. Diptera: 1 1 1 0.014492753623
Phantom Crane Flies 1884
O. Odonata 5 5 25 0.362318840579
O. Ephemeroptera: 3 4 12 0.173913043478
Small Minnow Mayfly 261
O. Trichoptera: 6 0 0 0
Free Living Caddis
O. Coleoptera: 2 4 8 0.115942028985
Pred. Diving Beetle 507
Totals 69 FBI = 4.6376811594


HBI values range from 0 to 10. Different than the Shannon-Weiner Diversity Index, the

lower the number the better; low HBI values reflect a higher abundance of sensitive

groups, thus a lower level of pollution.

Below the mine, the FBI is 5.51, indicating that the water quality is fair. There is a fairly

substantial degree of pollution, decreasing the number of EPT and increasing the

amount of organisms that are insensitive to pollution. Above the mine the FBI is 4.64,

indicating that the water quality is good, showing that there is some organic pollution
probable. Above the mine has a higher abundance of sensitive groups which indicates it

has less pollution than below the mine.

Comparisons Between Above the Mine and Below the Mine

Although there were subtle variations, there were many differences between the water

quality above the mine compared to below the mine. To start with the water quality data,

oddly enough the river was much colder below the mine than above (-1.65 degrees

celsius). Data below the mine also showed a noticeable increase in conductivity,

alkalinity, and hardness, but only a slight increase in dissolved oxygen. When

comparing the two samples using the Shannon-Weiner Diversity Index, the water above

the mine had a higher number, showing the presence of more diversity above the mine.

This can indicate a higher number of EPT and less domination of pollution-tolerant

species. When comparing the two samples using the Hilsenhoff FBI, a slight difference

in the family biotic index is present. With the sample above the mine having a FBI of

4.64 and a FBI of 5.51 below the mine, we can see that the water below the mine has a

substantial degree of pollution, rating the water quality as fair. As 4.64 trails only 0.87

away, this water quality above the mine is mildly rated as good, with a some pollution


Comparing the types of organisms found above and below the mine, a greater number

of EPT were found above the mine. With the presence of pollution-sensitive species,

this indicates that the water quality is much healthier than below the mine. Below the

mine, a high number of O. Amphipodas were found along with one snail. The high

abundance of one creature decreases the areas diversity, therefore increasing its
unhealthiness. Lastly, the only area Chironomids are found were above the mine. Very

high numbers of midge larvae (Chironomidae) relative to the more sensitive EPT taxa

may indicate environmental stress. The presence of Chironomids above the mine

potentially indicates a harmful uprising of a lower water quality stream. Conclusively, the

waste and exposure of the mine along the stream has detrimental effects to the water

and organisms that live within this community.


Begon, M., J. L. Harper, and C. R. Townsend. 1996. Ecology: Individuals, Populations,

and Communities, 3rd Edition. Blackwell Science Ltd., Cambridge, MA.

Magurran, A. E. 1988. Ecological Diversity and its Measurement. Princeton University

Press, Princeton, NJ.

Rosenzweig, M. L. 1995. Species Diversity in Space and Time. Cambridge University

Press, New York, NY.