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    Changes in fossil chironomid remains along a depth gradient: evidence for common faunal thresholds within lakes

    Engels, Stefan and Cwynar, L.C. (2011) Changes in fossil chironomid remains along a depth gradient: evidence for common faunal thresholds within lakes. Hydrobiologia 665 , pp. 15-38. ISSN 0018-8158.

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    Many environmental variables that are important for the development of chironomid larvae (such as water temperature, oxygen availability, and food quantity) are related to water depth, and a statistically strong relationship between chironomid distribution and water depth is therefore expected. This study focuses on the distribution of fossil chironomids in seven shallow lakes and one deep lake from the Plymouth Aquifer (Massachusetts, USA) and aims to assess the influence of water depth on chironomid assemblages within a lake. Multiple samples were taken per lake in order to study the distribution of fossil chironomid head capsules within a lake. Within each lake, the chironomid assemblages are diverse and the changes that are seen in the assemblages are strongly related to changes in water depth. Several thresholds (i.e., where species turnover abruptly changes) are identified in the assemblages, and most lakes show abrupt changes at about 1–2 and 5–7 m water depth. In the deep lake, changes also occur at 9.6 and 15 m depth. The distribution of many individual taxa is significantly correlated to water depth, and we show that the identification of different taxa within the genus Tanytarsus is important because different morphotypes show different responses to water depth. We conclude that the chironomid fauna is sensitive to changes in lake level, indicating that fossil chironomid assemblages can be used as a tool for quantitative reconstruction of lake level changes.


    Item Type: Article
    School: School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Department of Geography
    Depositing User: Stefan Engels
    Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2021 15:42
    Last Modified: 13 Jan 2021 15:42


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