On the relationship between the oxygen microstratification in a pond and the spatial distribution of the benthic chironomid fauna

In book: Chironomids- From genes to ecosystems, Publisher: C.S.I.R.O., Canberra, Australia

ABSTRACT Our objective is to elucidate the influence of oxygen on the spatial distribution of the benthic fauna in shallow waters. In this study, our attention was focussed on the Chironomidae that are abundant in our study site - a small euthrohic pond in Belgium. It is well known that oxygen controls the specific occurence and macrodistribution of chironomid larvae in standing waters (Heinis, 1993). However, it is unclear how the "respiratory environment" (Brundin, 1951) of these organisms is defined. Our study of the oxygen microstratification is intended to elucidate its significance for the vertical distribution of the chironomid larvae. Therefore, we have measured the oxygen concentration at several locations above and in the sediment as well as in the water column.

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    Polish Journal of Ecology 01/2006; · 0.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Eutrophication is the most common water quality issue affecting freshwaters worldwide. Paleolimnological approaches have been used in temperate regions to track eutrophication over time, placing changes in historical context. Diatoms (Bacillariophyta) have a direct physiological response to changes in nutrients and are effective indicators of lake trophic status. Chironomids (Diptera) have also been used to track nutrient conditions; however, given that nutrients and oxygen are often tightly linked, it is difficult to disentangle which variable is driving shifts in assemblages. Here, we analyze chironomid and diatom remains in sediments from sewage-impacted ponds in the High Arctic. These ponds have the unusual characteristics of elevated nutrient and oxygen concentrations, unlike those of typical eutrophic lakes where deepwater oxygen is often depleted. Our data show that while diatom assemblages responded to changing nutrients, no concomitant changes in chironomid assemblage composition were recorded. Furthermore, the dominance of oligotrophic, cold stenothermic chironomid taxa, and lack of so-called “eutrophic” species in the eutrophic sewage ponds suggests that oxygen, not nutrients, structures chironomid assemblages at these sites.
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    ABSTRACT: Lake St. Croix is a natural impoundment located at the southern end of the St. Croix River. Land use changes since European settlement (c. 1850) have resulted in nutrient runoff, eutrophication, and periodic oxygen depletion in the hypolimnion of Lake St. Croix. Establishing sound lake management practices requires knowledge of historical conditions obtained through paleoecological studies. Remains of non-biting midges (Insecta: Diptera Chironomidae) in lake sediments have been shown to be reliable indicators of past hypolimnetic oxygen conditions. Cores from two sub-basins in the lake were collected in 2006. Midge analysis indicated that shifts in species assemblages correspond to the times of land use change. Chironomus and Procladius, which are tolerant of low oxygen levels, increased in relative abundance as land use changes adversely impacted the St. Croix River’s watershed. Volume-weighted hypolimnetic oxygen concentrations were estimated using a transfer function developed for southern Ontario. Mean post-settlement chironomid reconstructed average volume-weighted hypolimnetic oxygen values were 0.73 mg/L lower than mean pre-settlement values for sub-basin 1, near Prescott, WI and 0.45 mg/L lower for sub-basin 3, near Lakeland, MN. These results indicate that oxygen depletion has occurred in the lake since the time of European settlement, and are supported by increases in the relative abundance of eutrophic midge bioindicators and the decrease in relative abundance of bioindicators of less productive conditions since the 1850s. This study, in conjunction with other historical and paleoecological studies of Lake St. Croix, provides historical data for setting management goals and strategies for Lake St. Croix.