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The phantom midge menace: Migratory Chaoborus larvae maintain poor ecosystem state in eutrophic inland waters

Kam Tang Orcid Logo, Sabine Flury, Dominic Vachon, César Ordóñez, Daniel F. McGinnis

Water Research, Volume: 139, Pages: 30 - 37

Swansea University Author: Kam Tang Orcid Logo

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Abstract

Chaoborus spp. (phantom midge) are prevalent in eutrophic lakes with methane-rich, oxygen depleted hypolimnion and sediments, and the methane-poor, oxygen-rich epilimnion. Using a combination of experiments and system modelling, we demonstrated that the larvae’s burrowing activities in and out of th...

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Published in: Water Research
ISSN: 0043-1354
Published: Elsevier BV 2018
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa39194
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Abstract: Chaoborus spp. (phantom midge) are prevalent in eutrophic lakes with methane-rich, oxygen depleted hypolimnion and sediments, and the methane-poor, oxygen-rich epilimnion. Using a combination of experiments and system modelling, we demonstrated that the larvae’s burrowing activities in and out of the sediment perturbed the sediment and reintroduced sequestered phosphorus into the overlying water, thereby exacerbating internal nutrient loading in the water column. Fluxes of sediment methane and other reduced solutes enhanced by the larval bioturbation sustain the hypoxic/anoxic condition below the thermocline. Migrating larvae also directly transported methane in their gas vesicles from the deep water and release it in the surface water, potentially contributing to methane emission to air. As nutrient pollution and climate warming persist or worsen in the coming decades, proliferation of Chaoborus could intensify this positive feedback loop and delay lake recovery.
Keywords: Chaoborus, eutrophication, methane, positive feedback, nutrient internal loading
College: College of Science
Start Page: 30
End Page: 37