University of Oulu

The use of Chironomid Pupal Exuvial Technique (CPET) in freshwater biomonitoring: applications for boreal rivers and lakes

Saved in:
Author: Raunio, Janne1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: 2008
Publish Date: 2008-01-02
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic dissertation to be presented, with the assent of the Faculty of Science of the University of Oulu, for public defence in Kouvola-talo (Varuskuntakatu 11, 45100 Kouvola), on January 11th, 2008, at 12 noon
Reviewer: Professor Peter S. Cranston
Professor Willem Goedkoop


In this thesis, I used the Chironomid Pupal Exuvial Technique (CPET) to detect anthropogenic impacts and to determine chironomid species composition in boreal rivers and lakes. The main objectives of the thesis research were i) to evaluate the importance of timing of sampling in the use of the CPET method (I, II), ii) to identify chironomid indicators of different environmental conditions (II, III, IV), and iii) to compare performance of the CPET method and more traditional sampling techniques in detecting anthropogenic impacts and chironomid species composition (III, V). I also determined emergence patterns of lotic chironomids in southern Finland (II, IV).

Timing of sampling was found to be a critical design factor in the application of the CPET, especially if the trophic gradient between study sites was short. Sampling occasions need to match with the emergence periods of indicator chironomid taxa to ensure the maximum likelyhood of detecting human impacts, if any exist. However, the optimal timing of sampling varies spatially and is dependend on several environmental factors, such as latitude, altitude and trophic gradient. The shift in taxonomic composition of emerging chironomids was found to be especially rapid in spring, and tended to decrease towards autumn. This was probably due to the short emergence periods of some spring-emerging univoltine species, with their annual emergence taking only a few weeks. In contrast to whole genera, the detection of a certain species may require accurate timing of sampling. Thus, among-site differences observed at species level may reflect spatially varying emergence patterns rather than true differences in community composition. On the other hand, because of the among-species variation in species’ tolerances towards, for example eutrophication, genus level identification may mask subtle differences between study sites. Nevertheless, for most monitoring purposes genus level identification seems practical and adequate, although species level resolution is desirable.

Comparisons of the CPET method and more traditional grab sampling showed that pupal exuvial samples provided a more complete picture of the chironomid fauna, and that this information was obtained cost-effectively. Further, the integrative nature of the CPET was found to be critically important in the assessment of both lotic and lentic habitats. Sampling only a single macrohabitat type may result in biased estimates of the ecological condition of the whole water body. Further, in comparison to profundal grab samples, integrating species from various habitats using the CPET method appeared to have only a minor negative influence on the signal strength.

Determination of emergence patterns of lotic chironomids showed that nearly 200 chironomid species occurred frequently in rivers of southern Finland. A major proportion of species richness was accounted for the sub-families Chironominae (emerging mainly during the summer months) and Orthocladiinae (spring and autumn). Overall, these studies demonstrated that the CPET is a cost-effective and sensitive method for the assessment and monitoring of freshwaters, and should be considered as an alternative and/or supplementary tool to more traditional sampling methods.

see all

Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. A, Scientiae rerum naturalium
ISSN-E: 1796-220X
ISBN: 978-951-42-8683-4
ISBN Print: 978-951-42-8682-7
Issue: 500
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2008. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.