Most states in the U.S. are currently developing methods for assessing the integrity of aquatic habitats through the development of regional biocriteria. While multimetric indices have been used to show community composition, pollution tolerance, species diversity, and trophic structure with a combined index, the specific environmental factors that drive biological communities may be better explained through the use of multivariate statistical techniques. Macroinvertebrate and fish assemblages were sampled along with water quality, landuse and qualitative and quantitative habitat assessments from forty-nine sites throughout the Choctawhatchee-Pea, a southeastern U.S. watershed. Multivariate statistical analyses of habitat, water quality, and land-use data were used to determine the relationship between environmental variables and the dependent biological variables, macroinvertebrate and fish community structure. Sampling of biological and environmental data showed that there was a great deal of homogeneity within the watershed, which complicated the task of identifying environmental influences on biological assemblages. Macro-invertebrate and fish assemblages of the Choctawhatchee-Pea watershed were similar in their response to environmental conditions with water chemistry having the greatest relationship to macro-invertebrate and fish community structure followed by instream habitat and land use.

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