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Postglacial succession of caddisfly (Trichoptera) assemblages in a central European montane lake

  • Daniel VondrákEmail author
  • Nick B. Schafstall
  • Pavel Chvojka
  • Richard C. Chiverrell
  • Niina Kuosmanen
  • Jolana Tátosová
  • Jennifer L. Clear
Original Article


The Bohemian Forest lakes, situated along the Czech-German-Austrian border, were strongly affected by atmospheric acidification between the 1950s and the late 1980s. The subsequent chemical recovery of the lake water should precede and enable a biological recovery, including changes in caddisfly (Insecta: Trichoptera) assemblages. Nevertheless, local pre-acidification data and detailed knowledge of the lake district history are missing, making evaluation of lake recovery difficult. We performed high-resolution analysis of caddisfly remains in a 2.2 m long sediment profile from Prášilské Lake covering the complete history of the lake-catchment evolution. Caddisfly larvae are good indicators of environmental conditions and their subfossil remains are well preserved in unconsolidated waterlaid sediments. A total of 10 caddisfly morpho-taxa were found providing a record from 11,400 cal. yr. BP to the present. With the exception of Athripsodes aterrimus, all identified species are currently present in the Bohemian Forest glacial lakes or their inflow streams but not all of them are documented in Prášilské Lake. The caddisfly fauna consisted of acid-resistant, acid-tolerant and eurytopic species since the Early Holocene. Based on our results, the acid, dystrophic state of Prášilské Lake has been occurring since the lake formation. We conclude that the first signs of natural acidification appeared not later than during the Holocene onset in the Bohemian Forest region. Furthermore, we did not detect any abrupt changes in the species composition connected to the period of anthropogenic acidification during the twentieth century. This study provides for the first time a record of postglacial succession of caddisfly assemblages in a central European mountain lake.


Natural acidification Holocene Palaeolimnology Macrozoobenthos Lake sediment Erosion events Bohemian Forest 



We thank Alexander Klink for his help with caddisfly remains identification, Jana Petruželová for her comments on recent caddisfly fauna of the Bohemian Forest lakes, Petr Kuneš for allowing us to study the sediment profile, and colleagues for assistance during fieldwork. This study was supported by the Internal Grant Agency of the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences of the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (IGA grant 21/17), the Czech Grant Foundation (project no. 16-23183Y – PEDECO; project no. 16-06915S – EUROPIA), and the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic (DKRVO 2018/12, National Museum, 00023272).


This study was funded by the Czech Grant Foundation (project no. 16-23183Y and project no. 16-06915S), the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic (DKRVO 2018/12, National Museum, 00023272), and the Internal Grant Agency of the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences of the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (IGA grant 21/17).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Institute of Zoology, Slovak Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Environmental Studies, Faculty of ScienceCharles UniversityPrague 2Czech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Forest Ecology, Faculty of Forestry and Wood SciencesCzech University of Life SciencesPrague 6Czech Republic
  3. 3.Department of EntomologyNational MuseumPrague 9Czech Republic
  4. 4.Department of Geography and Planning, School of Environmental SciencesUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUnited Kingdom
  5. 5.Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of ScienceLiverpool Hope UniversityLiverpoolUnited Kingdom

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