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

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Pol Tarrats *
Miguel Cañedo-Argüelles
Maria Rieradevall
Narcís Prat
(*) Corresponding Author:
Pol Tarrats | pol.tarsad@gmail.com

Abstract

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. 


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