Macroinvertebrates as bioindicators of Water Quality of Effluent-receiving Ossah River, Umuahia, Southeast Nigeria.

  • Emeka Donald Anyanwu Department of Zoology and Environmental Biology, College of Natural Sciences, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, Nigeria
  • Maryjoan Chigozirm Okorie Department of Zoology and Environmental Biology, College of Natural Sciences, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, Nigeria
  • Sabastine Nnanna Odo Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management, College of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, Nigeria
Keywords: Bioindicators, Macroinvertebrates, anthropogenic activities, water quality, effluent.


Bioindicators are biological organisms that can be used to monitor the quality of the environment. Macroinvertebrates are known to be extremely sensitive to organic pollutants coupled with their wide distribution, ease and minimal cost of sampling which makes them perfect bioindicators. Macroinvertebrate fauna of an effluent-receiving River Southeast Nigeria was studied in 3 stations between January and June 2018; to assess their community structure in relation to effluent discharge and other anthropogenic activities. The modified kick sampling technique and sweeping of aquatic macrophytes with hand net were used in the sampling of the macroinvertebrates. Five taxonomic groups and twenty (20) taxa were recorded; contributing 119 macroinvertebrate individuals. The composition of the taxa showed that non-biting midge, Chironomus sphad the highest number (39.5%). In terms of spatial distribution, the highest number of individuals (57) was recorded in station 2 while stations 3 and 2 had 37 and 25 individuals respectively. The macroinvertebrates fauna was dominated by tolerant species (75%). The diversity indices as reflected in Shannon-Wiener index (H) (1.717 - 1.923), Magalef Species Richness (2.769 - 2.968) and Evenness index (0.4285 - 0.6843) were low indicating lower number of species and environmental degradation due to anthropogenic impacts. The physicochemical parameters and macroinvertebrate assemblages showed that the river was adversely impacted by effluent discharge and other anthropogenic activities. The physicochemical parameters showed that station 1 was polluted by cumulative impacts while macroinvertebrate assemblages showed that station 2 was polluted by effluent discharge.


AMAH-JERRY, E. B., ANYANWU, E. D. & AVOAJA D. A. 2017. Anthropogenic impacts on the water quality of Aba River, Southeast Nigeria, Ethiopian Journal of Environmental Studies and Management, 10(3), 299 – 314. Doi:
ANYANWU, E. D. 2012.Physicochemical and Some Trace of Metal Analysis of Ogba River, Benin City, Nigeria, Jordan Journal of Biological Sciences, 5(1), 47-54.
ANYANWU, E. D. & JERRY, P. O. 2017. A Survey of Macroinvertebrate Assemblage of Ikwu River, Umuahia, Southeast Nigeria, Journal of Aquatic Sciences, 32(1A), 45-51. DOI:
APHA 1998. Standard Methods for the Analysis of Water and Wastewater, 21st Edition, Washington D.C: American Public Health Association, 1193pp.
ARIMORO, F. O., ODUME, O. N., UHUNOMA, S. I. & EDEGBENE, A. O. 2015. Anthropogenic impact on water chemistry and benthic macroinvertebrate associated changes in a southern Nigeria stream, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 187, 14. Doi: 10.1007/s10661-014-4251-2
BELLINGHAM, K. 2012. Physicochemical parameters of Natural waters, Stevens Water Monitoring Systems Inc. Accessed from on 30th March 2018.
BHATTI, M. T. & LATIF, M. 2011. Assessment of Water Quality of a River using an Indexing Approach during the Low-Flow Season, Irrigation and Drainage, 60, 103-114.
BROWN, D. S. 1994. Fresh Water Snails of Africa and their Medical Importance. Taylor and Francis Ltd., London.
BUSS, D. F., BAPTISTA, D. F., NESSIMAIN, J. L. & EGLER, M. 2004. Substrate specificity, environmental degradation and disturbance structuring macroinvertebrate assemblages in neotropical streams, Hydrobiologia, 518, 179 – 188.
CHAPMAN, D. (ed.). 1996. Water Quality Assessment. A Guide to the use of Biota, Sediments and Water in Environmental Monitoring (2nd Edition), Taylor and Francis, London and New York.
CLARK, R. 1994. Cumulative Effects Assessment: A Tool for Sustainable Development, Impact Assessment, 12(3), 319-331. DOI: 10.1080/07349165.1994.9725869
DUBEY, V. K., SARKAR, U. K., KUMAR, R. S., MIR, J. I., PANDEY, A. & LAKRA, W. S. 2012. Length-weight relationships (LWRs) of 12 Indian freshwater fish species from an un-impacted tropical river of Central India (River Ken), Journal of Applied Ichthyology, 28, 854-856.
EMERE, M. C. & NASIRU, E. C. 2007. Macroinvertebrates as indicator of the water quality of urbanized stream, Kaduna, Nigeria, Journal of Fisheries International, 2, 152-157.
FAKAYODE, S. O. 2005. Impact Assessment of Industrial Effluents in Water Quality of the Receiving Alaro River in Ibadan, Nigeria, Ajeam-Ragee, 10:1-13.
FMENV. 2011. National Environmental (Surface and Groundwater Quality Control) Regulations, S.I. No. 22, Gazette No. 49, Vol. 98 of 24th May, 2011, Federal Ministry of Environment, Abuja, Nigeria.
GEBREYOHANNES, F., GEBREKIDAN, A., HADERA, A. & ESTIFANOS, S. 2015. Investigations of Physicochemical Parameters and its Pollution Implications of Elala River, Mekelle, Tigray, Ethiopia. Momona Ethiopian Journal of Science, 7(2), 240-257.
GOLDSCHMIDT, T. 2016. Water mites (Acari, Hydrachnidia): powerful but widely neglected bioindicators – a review, Neotropical Biodiversity, 2(1), 12-25.
HALIM A., SHARMIN, S., RAHMAN, H., HAQUE, M., RAHMAN, S. & ISLAM, S. 2018. Assessment of water quality parameters in boar environment, Bangladesh: A review, International Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Studies, 6(2), 269-263.
HAMMER, O., HARPER, D. A. T. & RYAN, P. D. 2001. PAST: Paleontological Statistics Software Package for Education and Data Analysis, Paleontologia Electronica, 4(1): 9.
HOLT, E. A. & MILLER, S. W. 2011. Bioindicators: Using Organisms to Measure Environmental Impacts, Nature Education Knowledge, 2(2), 8.
HYNES, H.B.N. 1970. The Ecology of Running Waters, Liverpool University Press, England.
KALYONCU, H. & GULBOY, H. 2009. Benthic macroinvertebrates from Darioren and Isparta streams (Isparta/Turkey)-biotic indices and multivariate analysis, Journal of Applied Biological Sciences, 3(1), 79–86.
KUCUK, S. 2008. The Effect of Organic Pollution on Benthic Macroinvertebrate Fauna in the Kirmir Creek in the Sakarya Basin, ADÜ Ziraat Fakültesi Dergisi, 5(1), 5-12.
MAHRE, M. Y., AKAN, J. C., MOSES, E. A. & OGUGBUAJA, V. O. 2007. Pollution indicators in River Kaduna, Kaduna State, Nigeria, Trends in Applied Sciences Research, 2, 304 – 311.
MANDAL, S. H., DAS, A. & NANDA, A. K. 2012. Study of some Physicochemical Water Quality Parameters of Karola River, West Bengal- An Attempt to Estimate Pollution Status, International Journal of Environmental Protection, 2(8), 16-22.
MARIANTIKA, L. & RETNANINGDYAH, C. 2014. The change of benthic macroinvertebrate community structure due to human activity in the spring channel of the source of clouds of Singosari subdistrict, Malang Regency, Jurnal Biotropika, 2, 254–259.
MERRITT, R. W. & CUMMINS, K. W. 1996. An introduction to the aquatic insects of North America (3rd ed), Kendall-Hunt, Dubuque, Iowa.
MUHAMMAD, M., SAMIRA, S., FARYAL, A. & FARRUKH, J. 2013. Assessment of Drinking Water Quality and its Impacts on Residents health in Bahawalpor City, International Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 3(15), 114-128.
MOHAMMED, N. I. & BAMARNI, K. A. 2019. Water quality monitoring of Duhok Dam (Kurdistan Region of Iraq), ZANCO Journal of Pure and Applied Sciences, 31(1), 7-16.
NAMAN, S. M., ROSENFELD, J. S. & RICHARDSON, J. S. 2016. Causes and consequences of invertebrate drift in running waters: from individuals to populations and trophic fluxes, Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 73, 1292–1305.
NWANKWO, C., MOHAMMED, A., IKYEREVE, E. R. & DAWARI, B. K. 2014. The Impact of human Water Exploitation on Physicochemical characteristics of Mmubete River in the Niger Delta, Nigeria, International Journal of Science and Technology, 3(5), 292 – 297.
OLOMUKORO, J. O. & DIRISU, A. R. 2012. Macroinvertebrate Community of a Post Lindane Treated Stream Flowing through a Derived Savannah in Southern Nigeria, Tropical Freshwater Biology, 21(1), 67 – 82.
OLOMUKORO, J. O. & EZEMONYE, L. I. 2000. Studies of the macrobenthic fauna of Eruvbi Stream, Benin City, Nigeria, Environmental Research, 2(1&2), 125 – 136.
PATANG, F., SOEGIANTO, A. & HARIYANTO, S. 2018. Benthic Macroinvertebrates Diversity as Bioindicator of Water Quality of Some Rivers in East Kalimantan, Indonesia, International Journal of Ecology, Vol. 2018, Article ID 5129421(11pp).
PENNAK, R. W. 1978. Freshwater Invertebrates of the United States, (2nd Edn.) John Wiley and Sons, USA.
POND, G., PASSMORE, M., BORSUK, F., REYNOLDS, L. & ROSE, C. 2008. Downstream effects of mountaintop coal mining: comparing biological conditions using family- and genus-level macroinvertebrate bioassessment tools, Journal of the North American Benthological Society, 27(3), 717–737.
QUINBY-HUNT, M. S., LAUGHLIN, R. D. & QUINTANILLA, A. T. (1986). Instrumentation for Environmental Monitoring, Volume 2: Water, John Wiley and Sons, New York.
RADOJEVIC, M. & BASHKIN, V. N. 1999. Practical Environmental Analysis, Cambridge, UK: Royal Society of Chemistry.
SETIAWAN, D. 2009. The study of macrozoobenthos community at downstream waters of Lematang river surrounding in Pasar Bawah, Lahar Regency, Science Research Journal, 9, 12–14.
SIMBOURA, N., ZENETUS, A., PANAOYTIDES, P. & MAKIA, A. 1995. Changes in benthic community structure along and environmental pollution gradient, Marine Pollution Bulletin, 30, 470- 474.
SOUTO, R. G., FACURE, K. G., PAVANIN, L. A. & JACOBUCCI, G. B. 2011. Influence of environmental factors on benthic macroinvertebrate communities of urban streams in Vereda habitats, Central Brazil, Acta Limnologica Brasiliensia, 23(3), 293-306.
SPAAK, P. & BAUCHROWITZ, M. 2010. Environmental influences and plankton dynamics, Eawag News: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, 69e, 25-27.
UNITED NATIONS 2014. World Urbanization Prospects. The 2014 Revision. United Nations.
VALDECASAS A. G. & BALTANÁS, A. 1990. Jacknife and bootstrap estimation of biological index of water quality, Water Research, 24, 1279–1283.
VICTOR, R. & OGBEIBU, A. E. 1985. Macrobenthic invertebrates of a Nigerian flowing through farmland in Southern Nigeria, Environmental Series A, Ecological and Biological, 39(4), 337-349.
WARD, D., HOLMES, N. & JOSE, P. 1995. The New Rivers and Wildlife Handbook. RSPB, NRA, The Wildlife Trusts, Bedfordshire.
WEBER-SCANNELL P. K. & DUFFY L. K. 2007. Effect of Total Dissolved Solids on Aquatic Organisms: A review of literature and recommendation for Salmonid species, American Journal of Environmental Sciences, 3(1), 1-6.
WEN, Y., SCHOUPS, G. & VAN DE GIESEN, N. 2017. Organic pollution of rivers: Combined threats of urbanization, livestock farming and global climate change, Scientific Reports, 7, 43289. | DOI: 10.1038/srep43289
WHILES, M. R. & WALLACE, J. B. 1997. Leaf litter decomposition and macroinvertebrate communities in headwater streams draining pine and hardwood catchments, Hydrobiologia, 353(1-3), 107–119.
How to Cite
Anyanwu, E., M. Okorie, and S. Odo. “Macroinvertebrates As Bioindicators of Water Quality of Effluent-Receiving Ossah River, Umuahia, Southeast Nigeria.”. ZANCO Journal of Pure and Applied Sciences, Vol. 31, no. 5, Oct. 2019, pp. 9-17, doi:10.21271/zjpas.31.5.2.
Agricultural and Environmental Researches