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The Evaluation of a Rake Method to Quantify Submersed Vegetation in the Upper Mississippi River

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A long-handled, double-headed garden rake was used to collect submersed aquatic vegetation (SAV) and compared to in-boat visual inspection to record species presence at 67 individual sites. Six rake subsamples were taken at each site and a rake density rating was given to each species collected in the subsamples. Presence at the site, frequency of occurrence in the six rake samples, and additive density rating (the sum of the six rake density ratings) were quantified for each species at each site. The validity of the indices was tested against biomass data collected by clipping all remaining vegetation from the 67 sites. In the turbid water of the Mississippi River, visual inspection of SAV from boats was ineffective with only 27% of the species detected, while raking retrieved on average 70% of the total number of submersed species in the 67 sites. Presence of species at individual sites was correlated with biomass from Stuckenia pectinata, while frequency of occurrence and additive density rating were correlated with biomass for species with greater than 21g of total biomass from all sites. The efficiency of the rake to collect biomass varied among species; only 18% of total biomass was captured via raking the site six times. Additive density rating as an index of abundance can be used to detect temporal changes in the same water body; however, cross-species comparison is not encouraged unless the efficiency of the rake has been determined for each species being compared. KeywordsAbundance–Biomass–Mississippi River–Rake method–Sampling technique–Submersed aquatic vegetation

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