Research Page, Dr. Barbara Hayford


Collection of surface floating chironomid pupal exuviae provides information on the life history and ecology of one of the most diverse and abundant aquatic insects in the world.  Collections taken from Nebraska streams during a single sampling event can easily yield up to forty species and seasonal or monthly collections can yield over 100 species from only a single site.  The specimens can be identified to species group and species producing a high level of taxonomic resolution for community analysis of aquatic habitat.  I have collected pupal exuviae from streams in the Nebraska Sandhills, the Nebraska Pine Ridge, and from Loess Hills streams and other streams of Northeast Nebraska for nearly ten years.  A preliminary list of Chironomidae from Nebraska can be found in this presentation (given at the Nebraska State College System Faculty College Meetings in Chadron, Nebraska, May 2009).  A formal list will be produced soon.

To goals of my research in chironomid pupal exuviae from Nebraska are:

  1. To document diversity of cold adapted chironomids, thereby increasing our overall understanding of diversity of chironomids in the state
  2. To document diversity of chironomids and the ecology of their habitats from unique stream sites around the state including streams of the Nebraska Pine Ridge, the Sandhills, and the Loess Hills.
  3. To compare communities of Chironomidae found in the steppe (high plains prairies) streams and springs of Nebraska with the steppe streams springs of Mongolia.  These comparisons will be used to explore types of data necessary to establish stream and spring habitat in need of restoration or conservation.  The CPEN research will be used for comparison with  my research on Mongolian Chironomidae.  

Further discussion on the use of surface floating pupal exuviae of Chironomidae in research can be found on the Chironomid Research Page under methods at the University of Minnesota.