Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Midge Bones In Lake Sediments Reveal Fish History

Date:
May 21, 2009
Source:
University of Gothenburg
Summary:
The mouth parts of the phantom midge are microscopic. But in the hands of scientists these midge bones become a time machine that can document 200 years of acidification and fish elimination in Swedish lakes.

The photograph shows the jawbone, or mandible, of the phantom midge. This bone may be 0.1 to 0.3 mm in size, and is found in the sediments in lakes, normally in frequencies that range from a few up to around 100 examples in each sediment layer.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Gothenburg

The mouth parts of the phantom midge are microscopic. But in the hands of scientists from the Department of Zoology at the University of Gothenburg these midge bones become a time machine that can document 200 years of acidification and fish elimination in Swedish lakes.

Acidification of land and water is one of the greatest environmental problems of modern time. Many European lakes still show obvious signs of acidification, and have lead to extensive fish elimination and severely reduced biological diversity.

Earlier research has shown a clear connection between fish elimination and larvae of the phantom midge, where a reduction in the fish population can lead to an explosion of phantom midge larvae in acidified lakes.

This invasion of midges forms the basis of a unique research project at the University of Gothenburg. Researchers can now reconstruct the development of fish population in acidified lakes and learn how the population has changed in past centuries by investigating mouth parts of phantom midges that have been preserved in lake sediments.

 “What we do can, in fact, be viewed as a journey through time, in which we reconstruct the history of a lake from the early 19th century onwards. We analyse the occurrence of the phantom midge mouth parts and determine which species are present in the sediments. This allow us to determine whether the number of fish has increased or decreased through history, whether fish have been eliminated completely and disappeared from the lake, and we can also give a rough description of when different fish species have been eliminated during periods of severe acidification”, says Fredrik Palm, doctoral student and researcher in the Department of Zoology at the University of Gothenburg.

This method of investigation makes it possible to study the effects of acidification in lakes in which samples have not previously been taken, and where historical information about the fish population is not available.

“Such studies, in turn, make it possible to decide how the biological restoration of an acid lake should be carried out, since it reveals the structure of a fish population that should be the restoration target, in order for the lake to be considered fully restored”, says Fredrik Palm.

The historical perspective of the method also makes it possible to survey natural variations in lake ecosystems. In this way, scientists can estimate human impact on lake ecosystems and relate this to climate change, eutrophication and acidification. Fredrik Palm is carrying out his studies in Västra Götaland and Bohuslän, with a special focus on the Gårdsjön area in Ucklum. This region has been an important centre of Swedish acidification research for decades.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Gothenburg. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Gothenburg. "Midge Bones In Lake Sediments Reveal Fish History." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090511181248.htm>.
University of Gothenburg. (2009, May 21). Midge Bones In Lake Sediments Reveal Fish History. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090511181248.htm
University of Gothenburg. "Midge Bones In Lake Sediments Reveal Fish History." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090511181248.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

Reuters - US Online Video (July 21, 2014) — An endangered black rhino baby is the newest resident at the San Diego Zoo. Sasha Salama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) — A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) — Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

AFP (July 19, 2014) — As if it weren't enough that the Queen is the Sovereign of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms, she is also the owner of all Britain's unmarked swans. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins