Resistance and resilience of winter-emerging Chironomidae (Diptera) to a flood event: Implications for Minnesota trout streams

Alyssa M. Anderson, Leonard C. Ferrington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Disturbances caused by rainfall are common in streams with the impact on stream inhabitants determined by the frequency, intensity, and predictability of the event. Here, we examine the response of winter-emerging Chironomidae (Diptera) to extreme flooding disturbance. In August of 2007, a severe flood impacted southeastern Minnesota, imparting stress on aquatic communities. Chironomid pupal exuviae collections were obtained biweekly from 18 southeast Minnesota streams during the following winter to assess resistance and resilience of winter-active chironomids to flooding. Streams examined were divided into moderate (2. 5-10 cm), heavy (10-20 cm), or extreme (20+ cm) rainfall categories with rainfall amounts in each category representing total precipitation during the 3-day storm. Post-flood samples were compared to samples obtained from the same localities during prior winters. Our findings contradict studies of responses by Chironomidae to flooding during warmer-water conditions and show that winter-emerging Chironomidae are resistant to stress imposed by summer spates. Significantly more taxa emerged during winter after flooding as compared to historic collections, and the number of species emerging in winter was positively correlated with rainfall severity, indicating that 15 species responded opportunistically to disturbance. This indicates that winter-active Chironomidae may be resistant to increased severity of summer spates associated with climate change predictions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-71
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments The authors wish to thank J. Anderson, S. Anderson, D. Ferrington, and three anonymous reviewers for their critical reading of this manuscript and W. Bouchard, E. Hannesdottir, and B. Scheutz for help with conceptualization of ideas. Thanks also to J. Anderson, S. Anderson, C. Jefferson, and J. Jarvis for field work assistance. This work was supported by the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station Project, the University of Minnesota College Of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Sciences Global and Environmental Change Graduate Fellowship, and the University of Minnesota Department of Entomology Sping and Ying-ngoh T. Ling Graduate Fellowship.


  • Chironomidae
  • Diamesa
  • Disturbance
  • Flood
  • Micropsectra
  • Orthocladius
  • Resilience
  • Resistance
  • Spate
  • Trout streams
  • Winter-emergence


Dive into the research topics of 'Resistance and resilience of winter-emerging Chironomidae (Diptera) to a flood event: Implications for Minnesota trout streams'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this