Sources indicator species is important in a biomonitoring study because it can affect the results of the study phase and tox-icity characterization procedures.

Bacteria are indicators of fecal contamination and the presence of pathogenic organisms (U.S. Department of Energy 1985). Fish are useful in assessing water quality because in aquatic communities, they often represent the highest trophic level. If fish are lacking or exist only in small numbers, decreased water quality may be affecting the fish directly or indirectly by affecting those organisms on which the fish feed.

Plankton are good indicators of the water quality because they float passively with the currents (U.S. Department of Energy 1985). Estimating the plankton population indicates, in part, the nutrient-supplying capability of that water body (U.S. Department of Energy 1985). Periphyton, because of their stationary or sessile existence, also indicate nutrient availability in an aquatic system; furthermore, they represent the integration of the physical and chemical conditions of water passing through their locations (U.S. Department of Energy 1985).

Benthic species are excellent indicators of water quality because they are generally restricted to the area where they are found (U.S. Department of Energy 1985). Benthic macroinvertebrates, because of their varying environmental requirements, form communities characteristic or associated with physical and chemical conditions. For example, the presence of immature insects, certain mollusks,

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