Chironomid Communities as Indicators of Water Quality Affected by Acid Mine Drainage

Water and benthic samples were collected quarterly, May 1980 to May 1981, from 21 sedimentation ponds on the Ollis Creek strip mine in Campbell County, Tennessee. Water samples in general were low in pH and high in sulfate, hardness, iron, and manganese. A total of 63 discernable chironomid taxa was collected and identified. Low pH ponds were generally dominated by Chironomus attenuatus and Tanytarsus, while higher pH ponds contained variable chironomid assemblages. Diversity values (richness) were significantly correlated with pH values. The polar ordination of chironomid assemblages showed a distinct linear arrangement of stressed ponds to those containing viable Centrarchid populations.

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