Chironomid workshop

10.06 - 13.06.2013
Southampton, UK
Contact person:
Peter Langdon, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Workshop report: 
> Access


To bring together active researchers to discuss current issues in the use of chironomids in palaeoecological research and climate reconstruction.


The international subfossil (€˜dead head€™) chironomid workshops began in the mid-1990s. The most recent meetings have been held in Iceland (2007), Denmark (2009) and Norway (2011). In 2013 the meeting will be take place in the New Forest, UK. The workshop is open to anyone working on subfossil chironomid larvae, and usually includes scientists from Europe and North America, although occasionally others from Asia and South America have attended. The scientific community includes only a few €˜full-time€™ (i.e. tenure track) specialist chironomid researchers so most delegates attending the workshops are postgraduate students and PDRAs.

The series of international €˜deadhead€™ chironomid workshops have been fundamental in the development of the subject and are therefore a crucial and eagerly anticipated event in the research calendar. In particular, the workshops have been important in fostering coherence and cooperation within the community and introducing and integrating new researchers into the field. The workshops have been instrumental in developing a standard approach to subfossil chironomid larval taxonomy and analytical methods, which has been vital in maintaining rigor in the subject. The workshops have also provided a means for the community to keep abreast of new developments and methods to tackle emerging problems, as well as a forum for developing new joint research initiatives.

Several important contributions to the literature have come directly from these meetings, including recent review and discussion papers (e.g. Velle et al., 2010: 2012: Brooks et al., 2012) and the widely used taxonomic guide to subfossil chironomid larvae (Brooks et al., 2007).


Limnological functioning

- What can chironomids tell us about (palaeo) lake processes, e.g. eutrophication, stratification, changes in food-web structure (e.g. recent Quinlan JoPL paper)?- How can we use chironomid analysis of lake sediments to inform conservation strategies? How can palaeomidge work contribute to macroecological theory?

Impacts on lakes

- Can chironomids help distinguish when a lake passes a critical transition? Do they show early warning signals (e.g. Wang et al Nature 2012)?- If a lake is losing resilience, how do chironomids respond?

Transfer functions

- How do the current debates on use of transfer functions affect our training set data/research?- Are there aspects about chironomid data that help/hinder this debate (see Brooks et al reply to Velle et al.).- What do chironomids respond to? Does mean July air temperature have any biological meaning to chironomid assemblages? (cf Huntley discussion paper 2012)

Climate and other environmental reconstructions

- Following on from the above – how good are our chironomid inferred climate reconstructions? - Can we get better at estimating the real magnitude of change, and real errors?


Monday 10th June - Arrival early afternoon. Late afternoon field trip to survey local wetlands in the New Forest.

Tuesday 11th June - Workshop talks and discussions

Wednesday 12th June - Workshop talks and discussions

Thursday 13th June - Depart

Post-meeting material

PAGES news workshop report (link)

Quaternary Newsletter workshop report (link)