Insects and other macroinvertebrates serve as indicators of the health of our rivers and streams. How does this work? Certain organisms require high levels of dissolved oxygen (found in clean, healthy streams) to survive, and others thrive in lower levels of dissolved oxygen (found in more polluted streams). So, by looking at the insects surviving in the ecosystem, we can determine the relative oxygen levels, and therefore the health of the system.
It is partially for this reason that insects are so important to the Indian River ecosystem in Sitka National Historical Park. This river depends upon the dynamic cycle of nutrients and energy being carried through its waters, and insects play a vital role in that process. Healthy streams especially have a diverse complement of mayflies, stoneflies, and caddisflies. Read further on below to learn about the main insects found in Indian River and the role they play in the health of our waterways!