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Chironomid communities as indicators of local and global changes in an oligotrophic high mountain lake (Enol Lake, Northwestern Spain)

Pol Tarrats, Miguel Cañedo-Argüelles, Maria Rieradevall, Narcís Prat
  • Miguel Cañedo-Argüelles
    Universitat de Barcelona, Departament d’Ecologia University of Vic – Central University of Catalonia, Aquatic Ecology Group, Spain
  • Maria Rieradevall
    Universitat de Barcelona, Departament d’Ecologia, Spain
  • Narcís Prat
    Universitat de Barcelona, Departament d’Ecologia, Spain


The benthos of the high mountain Enol Lake (Picos de Europa National Park, Spain) was analyzed in order to understand the spatiotemporal factors and patterns controlling its current Chironomidae community. In total, more than 14,000 chironomid larvae were identified, belonging to 27 taxa. The results have pointed out the presence of 3 main chironomid assemblages in the lake: i) littoral community, which is mainly controlled by temperature and oxygen seasonal changes, ii) Chara-dominant community, which is mainly controlled by the presence and abundance of Characeae in the lake, and iii) profundal community, which is affected by low oxygen levels caused by sediment and organic matter discharge to the lake due to human pressures in the lake basin. We provide valuable insights for the managers to understand the current ecological status of Enol Lake and to evaluate which measures should be implemented to preserve or improve it. Moreover, our results constitute an essential step forward to improve the interpretation of the past changes of the lake by means of the subfossil chironomid community. 


Chironomidae; high mountain lakes; biological indicators; Characeae; eutrophication; oxygen.

Supporting Agencies

Spanish National Parks Autonomous Agency (OAPN); FI Grant, Government of Catalonia; People Program (Marie Curie Actions) of the Seventh Framework Program, European Union; Agency for Competitiveness and Business of the Government of Catalonia

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Submitted: 2016-10-20 12:27:53
Published: 2016-12-29 00:00:00
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Copyright (c) 2016 Pol Tarrats, Miguel Cañedo-Argüelles, Maria Rieradevall, Narcís Prat

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