This study aimed to investigate changes in macroinvertebrate assemblage within Nyando wetlands and developed an index of biotic integrity for monitoring human disturbances. Triplicate macroinvertebrate samples were collected monthly for seven months using a scoop net. They were sorted live, counted and identified to genus level. Water samples for nutrients were collected and analyzed using standard methods. Physico-chemical parameters were taken in situ using electronic meters. Macroinvertebrates were analyzed for richness, diversity, dominance and abundance. Abundance was correlated with physico-chemical parameters. Kruskal-Wallis test was used to test spatial differences in macroinvertebrate community. Metrics for index of biotic integrity were chosen, tested, and a 5, 3, 1 scoring criteria was used. A total of 45 genera were identified and Kruskal-Wallis test analysis revealed significant spatial differences in macroinvertebrate abundance. Repeated measures ANOVA showed significant spatio-temporal differences. Tolerant macroinvertebrates were abundant at the disturbed sites whereas intolerant taxa showed a strong negative correlation with nutrient levels. Sites with higher disturbance recorded a total index score far below the reference site score. The results indicated that macroinvertebrates in Nyando wetlands can be used to monitor its ecological integrity. The IBI developed should be used to protect the lake from eutrophication.
Key words: Human disturbance, water quality, index of biotic integrity.
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