Date of Award


Degree Name

Biological Sciences


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Leonard J. Deutsch

Second Advisor

Donald Tarter

Third Advisor

Tom Pauley

Fourth Advisor

Dan Evans

Fifth Advisor

Ted Angradi


Multi-level basket samplers were placed within the shallow hyporheic zone (0 - 30 cm) of first through fourth-order streams in the Elklick Run drainage at the Fernow Experimental Forest, Parsons, West Virginia. Samplers were colonized by macroinvertebrates over three month intervals and collected during three different seasons. Seasonal, longitudinal, and vertical variation in the macroinvertebrate assemblage were examined to better understand the structure and function of the interstitial macroinvertebrate assemblage and important underlying factors. Surber samples were collected for comparison between surface and hyporheic macroinvertebrate assemblages. Temperature, dissolved oxygen, water chemistry, and interstitial water movement were measured at sampler locations. Analysis indicated that most macroinvertebrates decrease in numbers with depth (vertically), especially at the first-order site. The structure of the macroinvertebrate community at the first order site was unique among sites. The family Chironomidae increased in relative abundance with depth at all sites. The effect of depth on macroinvertebrate abundance and taxonomic composition varied among sites in each season. During the study, a drought and flood event occurred, resulting in low densities of fauna in top basket levels and greater abundances with depth. The drought effect was a result of low water levels in top baskets. Flooding caused scouring of top basket contents. There were stronger correlations between velocity and density during the fall when dissolved oxygen was lowest.


Benthic animals – Variation – West Virginia.

Benthos – Variation – West Virginia.