Date of Award


Document Type



Biological Sciences


Riparian buffer zones are the forested areas between a stream and the surrounding land. They help preserve stream quality, and in doing so, help preserve biodiversity. Riparian buffer zones have an affect on a vast array of stream attributes, macroinvertebrate biodiversity, and the health of stream ecosystems; it is for this reason that they are important.

Macroinvertebrates are often considered an indicator of ecosystem health and therefore the way that buffer zones affect macroinvertebrate species richness and abundance are often indicative of how they affect the rest of the ecosystem. The purpose of this project was to collect macroinvertebrates to test for differences between riparian and non-riparian zones. The data were collected once during each of the calendar seasons (twice during the fall) in the Yellow Breeches Creek in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. Richness and abundance are not greater in riparian zones. However, the Shannon index and Becks scales are statistically greater in riparian zones; indicating greater biodiversity in riparian zones.