Bioassessment of benthic macroinvertebrates in wetlands: a paired comparison of two standardized sampling protocols

We compared a rapid bioassessment protocol (Traveling Sweep Approach [TSA]) with a more conventional time intensive protocol (Composite Transect Approach [CTA]) to describe macroinvertebrates in wetlands in Alberta, Canada. We collected one macroinvertebrate sample using each protocol from 16 wetlands and compared abundance, catch per unit effort, and relative abundance between sample protocols. We also quantified and compared the logistics required to implement each protocol. The macroinvertebrate communities differed statistically between protocols for all three response variables; however, the differences were generally small and communities similar. The CTA protocol tended to yield higher variability in the samples, likely driven by the way these samples are collected and composited, which may introduce an unwanted source of variation when the primary monitoring objective is to assess effects of human activities over time and between sites. The CTA protocol also required significantly greater investment of time (ca. 50% greater processing time), money (ca. 1.9 times sample processing cost), and resources to execute (e.g., requirement for watercraft). Both protocols provided adequate characterization of macroinvertebrate communities in wetlands, but differences in variability and resources for deployment and processing are important considerations when choosing a sampling protocol. The rapid time-limited sweep protocol (TSA) appears to be a viable monitoring approach given that macroinvertebrate communities identified by each protocol were relatively similar but were collected using the TSA protocol at a lower cost.

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Field Value
Short Name of Publication bioassessment-benthic-macroinvertebrates-wetlands-paired-comparison-standardized-sampling-protocols
Deliverable Type Journal article
Program Catagory
Program Type Provincial
Author Hanisch, J.R., Connor, S.J., Scrimgeour, G.J., and Cobbaert, D.
Periodical Title Wetlands Ecology and Management
Year of Publication 2020
Publishing Organization
Month of Publication February
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Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
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