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Developing and applying a macroinvertebrate-based multimetric index for urban rivers in the Niger Delta, Nigeria.

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Urban pollution of riverine ecosystem is a serious concern in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. No biomonitoring tool exists for the routine monitoring of effects of urban pollution on riverine systems within the region. Therefore, the aim of this study was to develop and apply a macroinvertebrate-based multimetric index for assessing water quality condition of impacted urban river systems in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Macroinvertebrate and physicochemical samples were collected from 11 stations in eight river systems. Based on the physicochemical variables, the stations were categorized into three impact categories namely least impacted stations (LIS), moderately impacted stations (MIS) and heavily impacted stations (HIS). Seventy-seven (77) candidate metrics were tested and only five: Hemiptera abundance, %Coleoptera + Hemiptera, %Chironomidae + Oligochaeta, Evenness index and Logarithm of relative abundance of very large body size (>40-80 mm) were retained and integrated into the final Niger Delta urban multimetric index (MINDU). The validation dataset showed a correspondence of 83.3% between the index result and the physicochemically-based classification for the LIS and a 75% correspondence for the MIS. A performance of 22.2% was recorded for the HIS. The newly developed MINDU proved useful as a biomonitoring tool in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria and can thus be used by environmental managers and government officials for routine monitoring of rivers and streams subjected to urban pollution.

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