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Peer Review

Reviewed by Michael Railling

Wildlife and Fisheries Science Major

Tennessee Technological University

Cookeville, Tennessee 38505


Title:  Effects of Chironomidae (Diptera) Taxonomic Resolution on Multivariate Analysis of Aquatic Insect Communities.


Authors:  Douglas A. Wymer and S. Bradford Cook


Overview:  Identification of Chironomidae to genus is necessary to detect subtle changes in benthic communities.  Insect communities were sampled quantitatively from four streams in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.  Temperature ,pH, D.O., alkalinity, elevation, depth, current velocity, dominant substrate, and canopy cover was also measured at each location.  Identification of these two streams could be separated bases of water quality and habitat.  Between December 2nd and December 7th 1998 six samples were collected in riffles of each site, three from two different riffles using a Hess sampler. All the Chironomids were sorted to be identified under magnification.

            Discriminate analysis was applied to access stream variability habitat and water quality, taxon to family, and taxon to genus.  Numbers were compared and streams were identified using taxa.  The correct streams were more accurately identified when Chironomids were identifies to genus.


Critique:  The article, Effects of Chironomidae (Diptera) Taxonomic Resolution on Multivariate Analysis of Aquatic Insect Communities was consistant with the chain of events throughout the paper.  The title was very descriptive of what they were trying to prove.  That genus level identification is important is assessing a stream.  Eight different sources were used is the introduction and all of them supported the objective statement. All of the literature used was from sources that were published over one year ago.  The methods and materials section was very complete.  Many different works were sited in this section.  All of the research was well described for future replication.  Results were in the same order as the methods and materials.   The paper was complete, however difficult to follow because of the complicatedness of the research.  I had to read the paper several times to grasp the purpose of the paper.  Most of the statistical analysis was done by Michael Allan, a statistics teacher at tech.  One who has difficulty understanding statistical analysis may get lost in the tables and figures.  The discussion was very straight forward.  The discussion directly supported what was found in the results.  After reading it I better understood the results section.  The discussion had six different articles supporting the paper.  In the end the objective statement was proven correct.  In all I think that the paper was very beneficial.  Many people only identify Chironomids to family because they are hard to identify.  This research show’s that all insects need to be identified to genus in order to accurately access the habitat.