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The fish community of the middle Wabash River has been studied since 1973 from the standpoint of its capacity for measuring the biological impact of various kinds of point influences, such as thermal, municipal, and industrial effluents. Of particular interest has been the potential value of various community parameters as indicators of environmental quality, since individual species populations tend to vary markedly from year to year.
The primary sampling method consisted of repeated direct-current electrofishing through a series of 0.5-km-long zones located strategically throughout 274 km (170 miles) of river, divided into twelve reaches. The use of cluster analysis and community indexes, including a composite index, has been of value in isolating problem areas prior to the development of lethal environmental conditions and in gaging the degree of environmental benefit resulting from improved waste treatment.
ecology, environments, aquatic ecology, diversity, hierarchical diversity, stream surveys, clustering, effluents, aquatic organisms
Professor, DePauw University, Greencastle, Ind.
Assistant professor, Purdue University, Lafayette, Ind.
Research scientist, Lilly Research Laboratories, Greenfield, Ind.
Professor, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kans.