David Dippold

Date of Award


Document Type



Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Professor Jeff Erickson


The main purpose of this study was to assess the health of local limestone streams by developing an appropriate Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI). The goal of developing an IBI for local streams was to calculate a reliable, quantitative, measure of the stream health using fish assemblage. In order to develop the IBI, collection and analysis methods described by the EPA in the publication Rapid Bioassessment Protocols for Use in Streams and Rivers: Benthic Macroinvertebrates and Fish were followed to ensure appropriate sampling methodology and IBI calculation. While many metrics were considered, six applicable metrics were chosen for usage in the IBI. The final metrics used included the total number of species, the number of darter and sculpin species, the number of water column species, the percent composition of tolerant individuals, the percentage of generalist feeders, and the percentage of insectivorous feeders. Using the collected data, a preliminary scoring criterion was established. This scoring criterion was used to calculate an IBI score out of a possible 30 points. Three impairment categories were made, impaired, slightly impaired, and non-impaired. With the development of this adapted IBI, other local limestone streams can also be assessed using fish assemblage. Further data collection is needed to refine and further develop the IBI for limestone streams of central Pennsylvania.