This thesis examines the crenobiology of part of English Peak District known as the
White Peak. The study is centred on the biodiversity of Chironomidae larvae and the
physical and chemical characteristics that influence their distribution. Fifteen limestone
springs were examined encompassing three spatial scales over a 12-month period. At
the macro-scale, springs were examined in relation to the dominant abiotic
characteristics (e.g. thermal vs coldwater, perennial vs intermittent springs). Most
springs had relatively similar physical and ionic compositions and appeared to have
relatively stable characteristics through time (meso-scale level). Thermal springs were
characterised by low dissolved oxygen concentrations and high water temperature,
conductivity, sulphate and calcium concentration compared to the coldwater springs.
Perennial coldwater springs only differed from intermittent springs on the basis of
physical characteristics dissolved oxygen concentration and conductivity. At the scale
of single springbrook (micro-scale level), water characteristics were relatively stable
with little variation longitudinally. Chironomidae biodiversity within the White Peak
was relatively high with a total of 79 taxa being recorded from 15 springs. The most
common subfamily was Orthocladiinae, which represented 83.1% of the total
chironomid larvae recorded. Examination of individual springs indicated that faunal
communities were dominated by a variety of taxa. However a small number of
ubiquitous taxa were dominant at most springs. Analyses indicated that the
Chironomidae community within the springs was primarily controlled by physical
habitat characteristics (mineral substrates, submerged vegetation and mean flow
velocity) rather than chemical characteristics. Thermal springs supported lower larval
Chironomidae abundance and diversity compared to coldwater springs. Perennial
springs supported higher Chironomidae abundances and diversities compared to
intermittent springs. Chironomidae larval were more diverse and abundant in perennial
springs with coarse substrates. Alga supported more greater diversities and abundances
than mosses or macrophytes. Examination of heavy metal contamination at a single
spring source (Tricket Sough) indicated that elevated zinc concentrations in water,
sediments and chironomid larval resulted in increased rates of mentum deformities (e.g.
missing median teeth, extra lateral teeth, asymmetrical teeth structure) compared to the
reference site (Otter Hole).
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.