Netherland Journal of Aquatic Ecology

, Volume 26, Issue 2–4, pp 563–575 | Cite as

The effect of trophic/contaminant interactions on chironomid community structure and succession (Diptera: Chironomidae)

  • W. F. Warwick


The effects of contaminants and organic pollution on the chironomid communities of two basins in Lac St. Louis, a river-lake on the St. Lawrence River above Montreal, Quebec, were assessed and compared using lake classification theory techniques and morphological deformity indices based on the ligulae and antennae ofProcladius, the dominant surviving component of the south-shore communities. Contaminants from the industrial complex around Beauharnois, Quebec, have seriously degraded communities along the south-shore gradient while the introduction of untreated domestic wastes from Laprairie, Quebec, has seriously affected the communities of the Laprairie basin. The interaction between trophic and contaminant effects constitutes a classic example of the setback or deflection in the trajectory of ecological succession in biological communities hypothesized by ODUM (1981, 1985).


Chironomidae contaminants trophic state bioindicator communities water quality assessment ecological succession 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. BRUNDIN, L., 1949. Chironomiden und andere Bodentiere der südschwedischen Urgebirgsseen. Rept. Inst. Freshwater Res. Drottningholm, 30: 1–914.Google Scholar
  2. BRUNDIN, L., 1956. Die bodenfaunistischen Seetypen und ihre Anwendbarkeit auf die Sudhalbkugel. Zugleich eine Theorie der produktionbiologischen Bedeutung der glazialen Erosion. Rept. Inst. Freshwater Res. Drottnigholm, 37: 186–235.Google Scholar
  3. CAIRNS, J. Jr. and B.R. NIEDERLEHNER, 1989. Adaptation and resistence of ecosystems to stress: a major gap in understanding anthropogenic perturbations. Speculations Sci. Technol., 12: 23–30.Google Scholar
  4. CHAMPOUX, L. and H.H. SLOTERDIJK, 1988. Étude de la qualité des sédiments du Lac Saint-Louis 1984–85. Rapport Technique No. 1. Géochemie et contamination. Inland Waters Directorate, Québec Region, Environment Canada.Google Scholar
  5. HYNES, H.B.N., 1960. The biology of polluted waters. Liverpool Univ. Press, Liverpool, U.K.Google Scholar
  6. LINDEBERG, B. and T. WIEDERHOLM, 1979. Notes on the taxonomy of European species ofChironomus (Diptera: Chironomidae). Ent. scand. Suppl., 10: 99–116.Google Scholar
  7. LUGO, A.E., 1978. Stress in ecosystems. In: J.H. Thorp and J.W. Gibbons eds., Energy and environmental stress in aquatic systems. Dept. of Energy Symp. Ser. No. 78. NTIS, Springfield, Va., p. 62–101.Google Scholar
  8. MERRITT, R.W. and K.W. CUMMINS, 1984. An introduction to the aquatic insects. 2nd Ed. Kendall/Hunt Publ. Co., Dubuque, Iowa.Google Scholar
  9. NAGELL, B. and C.-C. LANDAHL, 1978. Resistance to anoxia ofChironomus plumosus andChironomus anthacinus (Diptera) larvae. Holarct. Ecol., 1: 333–336.Google Scholar
  10. NAUMANN, E., 1917. Undersokningar ofver fytoplankton och under den pelagiska regionen forsiggaende yttje-och dybildningar inom vissa syd-och mellansvenska urbergsvatten. Kgl. Sv. Vet. Ak. Handl., 56: 1–165.Google Scholar
  11. NIEDERLEHNER, B.R., J.R. PRATT, A.L. BUIKEMA Jr. and J. CAIRNS Jr., 1985. Laboratory tests evaluating the effects of cadmium on freshwater protozoan communities. Environ. Toxicol. Chem., 4: 155–165.Google Scholar
  12. NURSALL, J.R., 1952. The early development of a bottom fauna in a new power reservoir in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta. Can. J. Zool., 30: 387–409.Google Scholar
  13. ODUM, E.P., 1981. The effects of stress on the trajectory of ecological succession. In: G.W. Barrett and R. Rossenberg eds., Stress effects on natural ecosystems. John Wiley & Sons Ltd., New York, N.Y., p. 43–47.Google Scholar
  14. ODUM, E.P., 1985. Trends expected in stressed ecosystems. BioScience, 35: 419–422.Google Scholar
  15. ODUM, E.P. and J.L. COOLEY, 1980. Ecosystem profile analysis and performance curves as tools for assessing environmental impacts. In: Biological evaluation of environmental impacts. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, D.C., p. 94–102.Google Scholar
  16. ODUM, E.P., J.T. FINN and E.H. FRANZ, 1979. Perturbation theory and the subsidy-stress gradient. BioScience, 29: 349–352.Google Scholar
  17. OLIVER, D.R., 1971. Life history of the Chironomidae. Ann. Rev. Entomol., 16: 211–230.Google Scholar
  18. PATRICK, R., 1949. A proposed biological measure of stream conditons, based on a survey of the Conestoga Basin, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Phila., 101: 277–341.Google Scholar
  19. PATRICK, R., 1953. Biological phases of stream pollution. Proc. Penn. Acad. Sci., 27: 33–36.Google Scholar
  20. PINDER, L.C.V., 1986. Biology of freshwater Chironomidae. Ann. Rev. Entomol., 31: 1–23.Google Scholar
  21. RAPPORT, D.J., H.A. REGIER and C. THORPE, 1981. Diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of ecosystems under stress. In: G.W. Barrett and R. Rosenberg eds., Stress effects on natural ecosystems. John Wiley & Sons Ltd., New York, N.Y., p. 269–280.Google Scholar
  22. RAPPORT, D.J., H.A. REGIER and T.C. HUTCHINSON, 1985. Ecosystem behaviour under stress. Am. Nat., 125: 617–640.Google Scholar
  23. REGIER, H.A. and W.L. HARTMAN, 1973. Lake Erie's fish community: 150 years of cultural stresses. Science, 180: 1248–1255.Google Scholar
  24. REGIER, H.A., V.C. APPLEGATE and R.A. RYDER, 1969. Ecology and management of the Walleye in western Lake Erie. Great Lakes Fish. Comm. Tech. Rep. 15. Great Lakes Fisheries Commission, Ann Arbor, MI.Google Scholar
  25. SÆTHER, O.A., 1975. Nearctic chironomids as indicators of lake typology. Verh. Internat. Verein. Limnol., 19: 3127–3133.Google Scholar
  26. SÆTHER, O.A., 1979. Chironomid communities as water quality indicators. Holarctic Ecol., 2: 65–74.Google Scholar
  27. SÆTHER, O.A., 1980. Glossary of chironomid morphology terminology (Diptera: Chironomidae). Ent. scand. Suppl., 14: 1–51.Google Scholar
  28. SELYE, H., 1974. Stress without distress. J.B. Lippincott Co., New York, NY.Google Scholar
  29. SLOTERDIJK, H.H., L. CHAMPOUX, V. JARRY, Y. COUILLARD and P. ROSS, 1989. Bioassay responses of micro-organisms to sediment elutriates from the St. Lawrence River (Lake St. Louis). Hydrobiologia, 188/189: 317–335.Google Scholar
  30. SOKAL, R.R. and F.J. ROHLF, 1981. Biometry, 2nd ed., W.H. Freeman and Co., N.Y.Google Scholar
  31. THIENEMANN, A., 1913. Der Zusammenhang zwischen dem Sauerstoffgehalt des Tiefenwassers und der Zusammensetzung der Tiefenfauna unserer Seen. Int. Rev. ges. Hydrobiol. Hydrogr., 6: 243–249.Google Scholar
  32. WARWICK, W.F., 1967. Some chemical and biological aspects of water pollution in a portion of the upper Qu'Appelle River system. MSc. Thesis, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Sask.Google Scholar
  33. WARWICK, W.F., 1980a. Palaeolimnology of the Bay of Quinte, Lake Ontario: 2800 years of cultural influence. Can. Bull. Fish Aquat. Sci., 206: 1–117.Google Scholar
  34. WARWICK, W.F., 1980b. Chironomidae (Diptera) responses to 2800 years of cultural influence; a palaeolimnological study with special reference to sedimentation, eutrophication and contamination processes. Can. Ent., 112: 1193–1238.Google Scholar
  35. WARWICK, W.F., 1985. Morphological abnormalities in Chironomidae (Diptera) larvae as measures of toxic stress in freshwater ecosystems: indexing antennal deformities inChironomus Meigen. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci., 42: 1881–1914.Google Scholar
  36. WARWICK, W.F., 1989. Morphological deformities in larvae ofProcladius Skuses (Diptera: Chironimidae) and their biomonitoring potential. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci., 46: 1255–1271.Google Scholar
  37. WARWICK, W.F., 1990a. The use of morpholoigcal deformities in chironomid larvae for biological effects monitoring. Environment Canada, Inland Waters Directorate Sci. Ser. No., 173: 1–34.Google Scholar
  38. WARWICK, W.F., 1990b. Morphological deformities in Chironomidae (Diptera) larvae from the Lac St. Louis and Laprairie basins of the St. Lawrence River. J. Great Lakes Res., 16: 185–208.Google Scholar
  39. WARWICK, W.F., 1991. Indexing deformities in ligulae and antennae ofProcladius larvae (Diptera: Chironomidae): application to contaminant-stressed environments. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci., 48: 1151–1166.Google Scholar
  40. WARWICK, W.F. and N.A. TISDALE, 1988. Morphological deformities inChironomus, Cryptochironomus andProclaudius larvae (Diptera: Chironomidae) from two differentially stressed sites in Tobin Lake, Saskatchewan. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci., 45: 1123–1144.Google Scholar
  41. WARWICK, W.F., H.H. SLOTERDIJK and J. BUREAU, 1993. Morphological deformities in chrionomid larvae (Diptera: Chironomidae) as measures of ecosystem health. J. Great Lakes Res., submitted.Google Scholar
  42. WIEDERHOLM, T., 1983. Chironomidae of the Holarctic region. Keys and diagnoses. Part 1. Larvae. Ent. scand. Suppl., 19: 1–457.Google Scholar
  43. WOODWELL, G.W., 1970. Effects of pollution on the structure and physiology of ecosystems. Science. 168: 429–433.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Netherlands Hydrobiological Society 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. F. Warwick
    • 1
  1. 1.National Hydrology Research InstituteSaskatoonCanada

Personalised recommendations