This study was carried out in small water bodies (SWBs) within Uasin-Gishu and Siaya Counties of Kenya to investigate the effects of water quality on species diversity and richness of macroinvertebrates in these areas. The water quality of the SWBs was assessed in two dams in Uasin-Gishu County (Kesses and Kerita) and the other two in Siaya County (Mauna and Yenga) within Lake Victoria Basin. Water samples for total phosphorus (TP) and total nitrogen (TN) were collected at each sampling station and analyzed using standard methods and procedures. Physico-chemical parameters such as dissolved oxygen (DO), pH and temperature were taken in situ using electronic meters while biological oxygen demand (BOD) was analyzed using Winkler method after 5-days incubation period. Macroinvertebrate samples were collected using a scoop net (500 µm mesh size) then transferred into a white tray for washing and sorting prior to identification. Preliminary tests of water quality parameters were evaluated by GLM analysis of variance of which very significant differences were observed for both spatial (p = 0.004) and temporal (p= 0.001) variability with the measured water quality parameters. The results showed that there is both negative and positive change of macroinvertebrate composition and abundance between SWBs over time due to spatio-temporal variation of water quality parameters. Principle Component Analysis (PCA) further confirms this. PCA described over 90% of variation at the stations. For both seasons, TN, TP, temperature, pH, DO and BOD were found to have a significant influence of the species diversity, dominance and richness of macroinvertebrates. Principle component analysis of TN, TP, DO, pH and BOD for the SWBs described 96% of their variation when they were compared at temporal and spatial scales. This trend leads to the variation in species diversity; dominance and richness of macroinvertebrates in these SWBs. Water quality and littoral invertebrate mean relative abundance were significantly different among the studied small water bodies during the study period. Overall, water quality seemed to have had effect on species diversity, dominance and richness of the invertebrate benthic community therefore can be used as a bio-monitor to aquatic health.
Key words: Water quality, macroinvertebrates, species diversity and richness, small water bodies, Lake Victoria basin.
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