Netherland Journal of Aquatic Ecology

, Volume 26, Issue 2–4, pp 405–410 | Cite as

Factors influencing the distribution of chironomids and oligochaetes in profundal areas of Spanish reservoirs

  • Montserrat Real
  • Narcis Prat


A canonical correlation analysis was performed in order to explain the distribution and abundance of the profundal macrozoobenthos in 71 Spanish reservoirs. Two sets of variables were considered: one set consisted of subgroups of benthic organisms based on their feeding strategy, and the other consisted of environmental variables related to the trophic state of the reservoir.

The results showed that densities of phytophagous chironomids decreased with water depth and increased with oxygen content in the bottom waters, while Tanypodinae densities increased with rising densities of phytophagous chironomids and/or oligochaetes, revealing their strong dependence on the abundance of available prey. The abundance of oligochaetes and phytophagous chironomids showed a disjunct distribution with season and depth, suggesting the importance of food quality and sediment texture.

Oxygen availability and water depth acted as governing factors for the zoobenthos. Chlorophyll-a was of secondary importance and correlated inversely with the abundance of benthic fauna, especially in summer. Autogenic production coupled with inputs of allochthonous coarse particulate organic matter and a long stratification period lead to long lasting anoxia that reduces the benthic fauna in Spanish reservoirs.

Only up to 18% of the variability in the biological data could be associated with the environmental factors considered. Thus, factors other than the trophic state are much more important in reservoirs. Fluctuations of the water level and inputs of organic and inorganic materials coming from the basin are greater than in lakes and act as stressing factors for the benthic fauna.

Key words

profundal benthos chironomids oligochaetes reservoirs trophic state canonical correlations 


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Copyright information

© Netherlands Hydrobiological Society 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Montserrat Real
    • 1
  • Narcis Prat
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. EcologiaUniversitat de BarcelonaBarcelona, Catalonia(Spain)

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