1. Most attempts to describe the distribution of benthic macroinvertebrates in large rivers have used local (grab-scale) assessments of environmental conditions, and have had limited ability to account for spatial variation in macroinvertebrate populations.2. We tested the ability of a habitat classification system based on multibeam bathymetry, side-scan sonar, and chirp sub-bottom seismics to identify large-scale habitat units ('facies') and account for macroinvertebrate distribution in the Hudson River, a large tidal river in eastern New York.3. Partial linear regression analysis showed that sediment facies were generally more effective than local or positional variables in explaining various aspects of the macroinvertebrate community (community structure, density of all invertebrates, density of fish forage, density of a pest species - Dreissena polymorpha).4. Large-scale habitats may be effective at explaining macroinvertebrate distributions in large rivers because they are integrative and describe habitat at the spatial scales of dominant controlling processes.
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