Oligochaete Communities in Pollution Biology: The European: Situation with Special Reference to Lakes in Scandinavia

  • Göran Milbrink


Indicator species of communities are often the biological units of choice for describing the trophic situation in a body of water or a situation of intermittent pollution. Communities of oligochaete species within the families Tubificidae and Lumbriculidae usually describe the current trophic situation with sufficient accuracy. For several oligochaete species which are known to be cosmopolitan or near to it, the ecological requirements do not seem to differ much from one part of the world to another. The ecological demands of immigrants also seem to remain unchanged in their new localities.

There is, however, some hesitation as to the ecological attributes of some species possibly as an effect of interspecific competition. The eventuality of sibling species is considered. The present paper summarizes the known ecological demands of about 25 tubificid and lumbriculid species rather frequently occurring in the profundal of lakes in Scandinavia. References are also made to recent experience gained in this field in lakes and running water habitats in other parts of Europe outside Scandinavia.

Specific morphological reactions of individual specimens to pollutants in the environment are noted. The obvious ease with which some tubificid species are capable of colonizing even very distant localities is discussed as is the possibility of predicting the arrival of characteristic species in situations of drastically changed local conditions.

The frequent use of diversity indices in efforts to describe environmental changes or trophic conditions is commented upon. A suggested improvement of the Howmiller — Scott environmental index based on oligochaete community structure is briefly presented.


Oligotrophic Lake Bottom Fauna Ecological Demand Aquatic Oligochaete Tubifex Tubifex 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Göran Milbrink
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of ZoologyUppsala University and Institute of Freshwater ResearchDrottningholmSweden

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