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The distribution of the Chironomidae Insecta Diptera along multiple environmental gradients in lakes and ponds of the eastern Canadian Arctic

, : The distribution of the Chironomidae Insecta Diptera along multiple environmental gradients in lakes and ponds of the eastern Canadian Arctic. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 68(9): 1511-1527

An examination of the Chironomidae, the dominant aquatic invertebrate taxa found in Arctic lakes and ponds, was conducted to determine the environmental gradients that may limit their geographical distribution in the eastern Canadian Arctic. Subfossil chironomid head capsules, comprising 86 taxa, were sampled from surficial sediments of 63 lakes that spanned from tree line (northern Manitoba) across multiple regions within the eastern Canadian Arctic. Water chemistry and environmental data were then compared with chironomid assemblages using multivariate analysis. The distribution of chironomids was found to primarily follow a temperature gradient, but additional significant relationships were also found along a nutrient long dash productivity gradient. Several species of the Tribe Chironomini, which generally represent warm-water adapted taxa, were also found far beyond tree line in the southern Kivalliq region of Nunavut, indicating a more northerly range than previously known. While temperature and trophic status were found to strongly influence the distribution of some taxa, partially constrained gradient analysis indicates that specific chironomid taxa could be used to indicate a primary response to climate regardless of trophic status. This may allow for more holistic inferences of how aquatic communities may respond to climate change as the range of temperature dependant species expand into Arctic systems.


DOI: 10.1139/f2011-076

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