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Relationships Between Selected Physical Parameters and Benthic Community Structure in a Small Mountain Stream


The benthic community present in a stream is dependent upon or regulated by chemical, biological, and physical factors. Three important physical factors which can influence the composition of benthic organisms are substrate, water velocity, and water depth. In this study, four different substrates in a small Wyoming mountain stream were compared as to benthic community structure. The substrate types sampled were silt, sand and fine gravel, coarse gravel, and rubble. Highest mean number and mean biomass were found in the samples taken in rubble. Point and mean velocities also were measured for each sample taken. Greatest mean number and mean biomass were found at mean velocities of 0.50 foot-per-second (0.152 meter-per-second) or higher. Mean depth data indicated a preference by benthic organisms for depths of less than one foot (0.305 meter).

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