Benthic Macroinvertebrate Surveys

Benthic macroinvertebrates, or aquatic insects, provide multiple functions within a stream ecosystem.  They not only assist in breaking down leaf matter and detritus, but also are a valuable food source for other animals such as fish, birds, salamander, and bats.  Specific Orders of benthic macroinvertebrates such as the mayflies, stoneflies, and caddisflies are critical in regards to the monitoring the health of a stream not only due to their ecological functions, but also because of their sensitivity to pollution.  Since benthic macroinvertebrate communities are such strong bio-indicators of stream health they can be an incredibly useful tool when conducting environmental and biological monitoring.

Kirk Environmental biologists have conducted benthic macroinvertebrate surveys at over 600 locations across West Virginia and Virginia, and also have also conducted a number of surveys in Ohio and Pennsylvania.  Typically, we process between 600 – 1,200 samples annually that are collected by us as well as other consulting firms and state agencies.  Ten percent of our samples are re-identified by an outside taxonomist for quality assurance and quality control purposes.  The results of these QA/QC evaluations are provided to our customers in every batch of samples we process.

Our full-time taxonomist, Jason Shuttlesworth, is nationally certified by the Society for Freshwater Science.  He holds all Genus-Level certifications for aquatic insects within the eastern United States including: SFS (NABS) Certified Level 2 Genus Group 1 General Arthropods/Eastern SFS (NABS) Certified Level 2 Genus Group 2 Eastern Chironomidae SFS (NABS) Certified Level 2 Genus Group 3 Eastern EPT.


Benthic Sampling Capabilities

  • WV Rectangular Frame Kicknet
  • VA/PA D-Frame Kicknet
  • Square Meter Siene Kicknet
  • Ponar Grab Sampler
  • Hester-Dendy Multiplate Samplers