Environment - Macroinvertebrate Community Index by dominant land cover 2009–2013

Ministry for the Environment


Macroinvertebrates: Benthic macroinvertebrates are small animals without backbones (eg insects and worms). They live on and under submerged logs, rocks, and aquatic plants on the beds of rivers and streams during some part of their life cycle. Macroinvertebrates play a central role in stream ecosystems by feeding on periphyton (algae), macrophytes (aquatic plants), dead leaves and wood, or on each other.
MCI (macroinvertebrate community index): The MCI assigns ‘scores’ to taxa (types of macroinvertebrates) based on their tolerance to pollution. Scores for each taxa found at a site are combined and an overall MCI score is calculated: excellent (>119); good (100–119); fair (80–99) and poor (<80). A high macroinvertebrate community index (MCI) indicates a high level of river health.

Data calculation/treatment

Figure.NZ calculated the median, upper quartile, lower quartile, min and max clarity measures by land cover class. These calculations were undertaken to mirror the analysis undertaken for the Environmental Reporting Series (see https://data.mfe.govt.nz/table/2534-macroinvertebrate-community-index-percentiles-by-monitoring-site-2009-13/data/ Figure 1)

Data provided by

Ministry for the Environment

Dataset name

Environmental Reporting: Macroinvertebrate community index 2009–2013



How to find the data

At URL provided, select 'Download' from the top right of the screen. You will have to register to download this dataset.

Import & extraction details

File as imported: Environmental Reporting: Macroinvertebrate community index 2009–2013

From the dataset Environmental Reporting: Macroinvertebrate community index 2009–2013, this data was extracted:

  • Sheet: Sheet1
  • Range: B4:G7
  • Provided: 24 data points

Dataset originally released on:

September 29, 2015

Method of collection/Data provider

For the analysis presented here, NIWA used MCI data from up to 512 river sites monitored by them and the 16 regional councils with consistent time periods and comparable methods (Larned et al, 2015).
Sites are classified by dominant land cover in the upstream catchment.