Aquatic Ecology

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 495–501 | Cite as

Assessing the current related heterogeneity and diversity patterns of benthic diatom communities in a turbid and a clear water river

  • Janne Soininen


Benthic diatoms were sampled in two rapids, in a turbid South-Finnish river (R. Keravanjoki, 22 FTU) and a clear water river in eastern Finland (R. Vaikkojoki, 4 FTU), to evaluate the diversity and spatial distribution patterns of diatom communities and especially their relationships to current velocity. In both rapids, epilithic diatoms were sampled in 15 sampling squares within three current velocity classes (10 cm s−1, 40 cm s−1 and 100 cm s−1). The sampling squares had significantly different diatom communities in the three current velocity classes at both sampling sites, however, separation of the communities was much more pronounced in the clear water river (p < 0.001) than in the turbid river (p < 0.05). In the clear water river, communities at the highest velocity were highly different from those at the lower velocities. On the other hand, in the turbid river, communities were more similar at all velocities. Significant (p < 0.05) indicators for highest current velocity in the clear water R. Vaikkojoki were Fragilaria capucina var. gracilis Hustedt, F. capucina var. rumpens Lange-Bertalot and Meridion circulare Agardh. There were no significant indicators for high current velocity in the turbid R. Keravanjoki. Cocconeis placentula Ehr., Cymbella sinuata Gregory and Navicula lanceolata (Agardh) Ehr. were the three most abundant species in the highest velocity. This study showed that diatom community was highly specialized but low in diversity at the highest velocity in the clear water river. This pattern was not seen in the turbid R. Keravanjoki, indicating that the diatom community could withstand at the higher current velocities. In addition, the results show the importance of sampling in a variety of current regimes, particularly in clear water rivers, in order to properly assess the diatom diversity and community of a river section.

Key words

Current velocity Diatoms Heterogeneity Rivers Turbidity 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janne Soininen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological and Environmental SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiFinland

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