, Volume 813, Issue 1, pp 33–40 | Cite as

Effects of water browning on freshwater biodiversity: the case of the predatory phantom midge Chaoborus nyblaei

  • Markus Lindholm
  • Martin Eie
  • Dag Olav Hessen
  • Joachim Tørum Johansen
  • Kristoffer Weiby
  • Jens Thaulow
Primary Research Paper


Water browning, due to increased runoff of terrestrial dissolved organic carbon (DOC), has recently gained considerable attention. While it is well settled how browning affects light regime and thereby aquatic primary production, other impacts on the aquatic biota is less explored. Water browning shelters against UV radiation, and may thus benefit range expansion of UV sensitive organisms, such as midges. We mapped occurrence of Chaoborids in 148 subalpine and alpine ponds in Norway, and identified an apparent threshold for their presence around 3 mg total organic carbon (TOC) l−1. The field study was complemented with laboratory experiments on Chaoborus nyblaei (Zetterstedt, 1838), to test if this species is able to identify and select water colour (concentrations of DOC) for oviposition. Number of egg rafts on brown water tanks was significantly higher than in clear water tanks, indicating that C. nyblaei performs oviposition habitat selection. Chaoborids are effective predators in planktonic habitats, and our findings support the hypothesis that climate change may cascade through the ecosystem and promote range shifts of species due to alternated habitat frame conditions.


Chaoborus nyblaei Oviposition choice Dissolved organic carbon Climate change 



This work was funded by the Norwegian Research Council Project ECCO (224779/E10), and by NIVA’s. Strategic Institute Initiative “Climate effects from mountains to fjords” (Research Council of Norway, Contract No. 208279). We are indebted to Jon Arne Eie for field work assistance.

Supplementary material

10750_2017_3503_MOESM1_ESM.docx (21 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 20 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Markus Lindholm
    • 1
    • 2
  • Martin Eie
    • 3
  • Dag Olav Hessen
    • 3
  • Joachim Tørum Johansen
    • 1
  • Kristoffer Weiby
    • 4
  • Jens Thaulow
    • 1
  1. 1.Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA)OsloNorway
  2. 2.Rudolf Steiner University CollegeOsloNorway
  3. 3.University of OsloOsloNorway
  4. 4.Norwegian University for Life Sciences/NMBUÅsNorway

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