Biodiversity and Conservation

, 18:3809 | Cite as

Didymosphenia geminata (Protista, Bacillariophyceae) invasion, resistance of native periphyton communities, and implications for dispersal and management

  • Sabine FlöderEmail author
  • Cathy Kilroy
Original Paper


Historically described as cosmopolitan but rare, the benthic diatom Didymosphenia geminata is now considered a nuisance, bloom-forming and invasive species. In New Zealand, D. geminata was first recorded in 2004 in the lower Waiau River. By winter 2008 it had been identified in 26 major catchments. To investigate invasion success of D. geminata in relation to succession and biomass accumulation of native periphyton communities, we conducted a two-factorial field experiment. Seven successional stages of a native periphyton community (substrate exposure time: 0–49 days) were exposed to two D. geminata propagule concentrations (low and high) for 25 days. D. geminata propagule concentration and successional stage of the native periphyton community significantly affected the invasion success of D. geminata. While D. geminata invasion was low on all substrates that had been exposed to the low D. geminata propagule concentration, there was a unimodal relationship between invasion success and substrate exposure time at the high propagule concentration. D. geminata abundance was low on uncolonised substrates, increased when the native communities were 1- or 2-week-old, and low when the age of the native communities was 4 or more weeks. These results imply that D. geminata is a late successional species that needs some existing structure to anchor to a substrate. Although late successional stages of the native periphyton community displayed partial resistance to D. geminata invasion, trying to keep D. geminata abundances as low as possible appears to be the only way to manage this species at this time.


Didymosphenia geminata Invasive species Native periphyton communities Resistance Succession 



Dissolved reactive phosphorus


Dissolved inorganic nitrogen


Dissolved reactive silicate


Ash-free dry weight




Substrate exposure time



Neil Blair, Derek Kater, Kevin Trainor, Kirsten Haigh helped with the fieldwork, Haojin Tan did the chlorophyll analysis, James and Marie Galland of Elmwood Station provided access to the sites at Elm Tree Creek, Bill Jarvie’s valuable information on Southland streams was a great help when choosing the experimental sites, and the comments of Deanne Drake and Brian Whitton greatly improved the manuscript. Thank you all very much!


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd (NIWA)Riccarton, ChristchurchNew Zealand

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