, Volume 341, Issue 1, pp 1–19 | Cite as

Measuring the responses of macroinvertebrate communities to water pollution: a comparison of multivariate approaches, biotic and diversity indices

  • Yong Cao
  • Anthony W. Bark
  • W. Peter Williams


The responses of macroinvertebrate communities to pollution by sewage effluent in the River Trent system (UK) were investigated using a variety of multivariate approaches, biotic indices and diversity indices. It was found that multivariate analyses clearly illuminated the change of community structure along the pollution gradient. CY Dissimilarity Measure (CYD)-based Non-Metric Multidimensional Scaling (NMDS) appeared to perform better than DCA and clustering. Species richness, the BMWP, BMWP-ASPT, the Chandler Score, Chandler-ASPT could detect the effects of major pollution. However, these indices showed varying sensitivity to different ranges of pollution, for example, Chandler-ASPT and BMWP-ASPT are more sensitive to the change in clean/slightly polluted range than in the moderate/very polluted range. The diversity indices were the least informative. The advantages and disadvantages of the various approaches were discussed.

Key words

Biotic indices multivariate analyses macroinvertebrates river pollution community structure 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yong Cao
    • 1
  • Anthony W. Bark
    • 1
  • W. Peter Williams
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Life SciencesKing's College LondonLondonUK

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