Líffræðifélag Íslands - biologia.is
Líffræðiráðstefnan 2017

Erindi/veggspjald / Talk/poster E41

Are hot pots hotspots? The invertebrate community of warm springs in Iceland

Höfundar / Authors: Agnes-Katharina Kreiling (1,2) , Snæbjörn Pálsson (2), Jón S. Ólafsson (3), and Bjarni K. Kristjánsson (1)

Starfsvettvangur / Affiliations: 1. Hólar University College, Hólar, Iceland, 2. University of Iceland, Reykjavík, Iceland, 3. Marine and Freshwater Research Institute, Reykjavík, Iceland

Kynnir / Presenter: Agnes-Katharina Kreiling

In 1937, the Danish biologist Tuxen visited Iceland and dedicated a couple of months to the study of hot spring fauna. His description of hot spring communities set a cornerstone for crenobiology and is still cited nowadays. He classified springs according to their relative temperature into cold, tepid, and hot springs, and characterized their animal communities. He named the gastropod Radix ovata, the ephydrid Scatella tenuicosta f. thermarum, and the chironomid Cricotopus sylvestris as the character animals of hot springs in Iceland. Eighty years after Tuxen, we are assessing the invertebrate diversity of both cold and warm springs in Iceland, with a special focus on chironomid larvae. Water temperature plays a key role in shaping the invertebrate community, and communities of hot springs differ greatly from communities of cold springs. Some taxa are common in hot springs but almost never found in cold springs, e.g. Gastropoda, Ephydridae, and the Chironomidae Cricotopus sylvestris and Arctopelopia sp.
Due to mitigating groundwater influence, springs are generally thought of as seasonally and annually stable habitats with constant physicochemical conditions. Yet in the face of increasing anthropogenic pressure on the Icelandic landscape (e.g. through extensive use of geothermal energy, farming, and steady growth in tourism), spring habitats have become more and more endangered.