, Volume 114, Issue 3, pp 161-175

Epilithic and epipelic diatoms in the Sandusky River, with emphasis on species diversity and water pollution


Benthic diatom communities were collected seasonally from silty and rocky substrates to survey the water quality of the Sandusky River. Even though species composition was highly variable along the river, recurrent changes in relative abundance of specific diatom taxa and changes in overall community composition delineated areas where discharge of treated sewage affected water quality of the river. Changes in species diversity (Shannon formula), not decreases in diversity, marked the site where greatest pollution had occurred. Problems with using species diversity indices to indicate pollution tend to be related to predicting decreases in diversity in response to decreases in water quality. Evidence in the Sandusky River and the theories of diatom community dynamics suggest that species diversity can be greater in polluted areas than less polluted areas.