Aquatic macroinvertebrates (those that can be seen with the unaided eye) are the most abundant organisms within a stream, and they are an integral part of the river system’s food chain. The Buffalo National River has over 128 species of macroinvertebrates; most are from the orders of Mayflies, Caddisflies, Stoneflies, and True flies or Midges.
Diversity and species richness should be high within the Buffalo River, but research indicates that the diversity and richness of these communities are declining in certain reaches of the river. Changes in land use, declines in the quality of water from tributaries, introduced non-native species, and degradation of physical habitat are some of the factors causing this decline. Current efforts by the Park to protect these resources, include the development of an inventory and monitoring project that examines the macroinvertebrate communities over the long-term in conjunction with water-quality collections.