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Collections of Chironomidae surface-floating pupal exuviae (SFPE) provide an effective means of assessing water quality in streams. Although not widely used in the United States, the technique is not new and has been shown to be more cost-efficient than traditional dip-net sampling techniques in organically enriched stream in an urban landscape. The intent of this research was to document the efficiency of sorting SFPE samples relative to dip-net samples in trout streams with catchments varying in amount of urbanization and differences in impervious surface. Samples of both SFPE and dip-nets were collected from 17 sample sites located on 12 trout streams in Duluth, MN, USA. We quantified time needed to sort subsamples of 100 macroinvertebrates from dip-net samples, and less than or greater than 100 chironomid exuviae from SFPE samples. For larger samples of SFPE, the time required to subsample up to 300 exuviae was also recorded. The average time to sort subsamples of 100 specimens was 22.5 minutes for SFPE samples, compared to 32.7 minutes for 100 macroinvertebrates in dip-net samples. Average time to sort up to 300 exuviae was 37.7 minutes. These results indicate that sorting SFPE samples is more time-efficient than traditional dip-net techniques in trout streams with varying catchment characteristics.
Published online: 17 October 2012.
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