Environmental Management

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 75–80 | Cite as

Sequential sampling: A cost-effective approach for monitoring benthic macroinvertebrates in environmental impact assessments

  • Vincent H. Resh
  • Donald G. Price


Sequential sampling is a method for monitoring benthic macroinvertebrates that can significantly reduce the number of samples required to reach a decision, and consequently, decrease the cost of benthic sampling in environmental impact assessments.

Rather than depending on a fixed number of samples, this analysis cumulatively compares measured parameter values (for example, density, community diversity) from individual samples, with thresholds that are based on specified degrees of precision.

In addition to reducing sample size, a monitoring program based on sequential sampling can provide clear-cut decisions as to whethera priori-defined changes in the measured parameter(s) have or have not occurred. As examples, sequential sampling programs have been developed to evaluate the impact of geothermal energy development on benthic macroinvertebrate diversity at The Geysers, California, and for monitoring the impact of crude oil contamination on chironomid midge [Cricotopus bicinctus (Meigen) andC. mackenziensis Oliver] population densities in the Trail River, Northwest Territories, Canada.

Key words

Sequential sampling Benthic macroinvertebrates Environmental impact assessments Benthic monitoring programs Geothermal energy Crude oil contamination Cricotopus Sequential comparison index 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vincent H. Resh
    • 1
  • Donald G. Price
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Entomology and ParasitologyUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeley
  2. 2.Department of Wildlife and Fisheries BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaDavis

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