Table of Contents
Journal of Ecosystems
Volume 2014, Article ID 893795, 15 pages
Research Article

Associated Use Attainment Response between Multiple Aquatic Assemblage Indicators for Evaluating Catchment, Habitat, Water Quality, and Contaminants

1Department of Biology, Indiana State University, 600 Chestnut Street, Terre Haute, IN 47809, USA
2Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1100 North Mineral Springs Road, Porter, IN 464304, USA

Received 30 May 2014; Revised 17 August 2014; Accepted 6 September 2014; Published 15 October 2014

Academic Editor: Wen-Cheng Liu

Copyright © 2014 Thomas P. Simon and Charles C. Morris. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Use attainability analysis (UAA) at a watershed scale typically relies on the assumption that indicator organisms are responding similarly to the same environmental stressor. Factors explaining variance in fish, crayfish, and macroinvertebrate assemblage structure and function were investigated with emphasis on catchment and reach scale land use, habitat, contaminants, and water quality variables. Habitat quality scores ranged from 25 to 85 (average ). The substrate score, instream cover, riffle-run score, and channel score were primary factors contributing to declining habitat quality. Factor analysis found that four factors explained 69% of the contributed variance in fish assemblage, two factors accounted for 56% of variance in macroinvertebrate assemblages, and two factors explained 49% of the variance in crayfish assemblages. Overall drivers of assemblage structure were associated with broad scale issues of wastewater treatment, groundwater, and land use. Our results show that fish, macroinvertebrate, and crayfish assemblages respond to similar broad scale stimulus; however, the specific constituents responsible for the stress may vary with the magnitude of the cumulative stress, which may be expressed by each organismal group differently. Our data suggest that varying organismal groups can respond independently and stress reflected in one assemblage may not necessarily be observed in another since each organismal group is measuring different aspects of the environment.