Ecological diatom guilds are useful but not sensitive enough as indicators of extremely changing water regimes
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Classification of taxa into ecological guilds is based on the relation of respective taxa to nutrient enrichment and their resistance to physical disturbance. We hypothesized that ecological guild’s proportion and their taxa composition were strongly effected both by extremely changing water regime and nutrient contents. Diatom composition, guild dynamics and the diatom-based ecological status assessment index were studied in the Sebes-Körös River (South-East Hungary) in a year with extremely changing water regimes. There were highly pronounced changes in species composition during the whole vegetation period including the formation of running and standing water segments in autumn. While the proportions of ecological guilds showed no significant correlations with the studied environmental parameters, they were more balanced in high water discharge period than in the low water discharge period. Taxa compositions of segments were mainly determined by the preferences and strategies of a respective species and/or genera, regardless to their guild affiliation. These results point out that ecological guild characterisation should be refined using ecological knowledge at the subgenus level. We suggest to establish several subdivisions within the guilds to consider the differences in life strategies (CSR model) and life forms, and to implement the accumulated knowledge of nutrient preferences/indication of a respective taxa.
KeywordsDiatom species composition Diversity Ecological guilds Medium-sized river Water quality
The authors are thankful for the support of the Bolyai János Research Scholarship of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Bácsi I.), Internal Research Project of the University of Debrecen (Bácsi I.) and Hungarian Scientific Research Found PD 100192 (Török P.) during manuscript preparation. The work was supported by TÁMOP 4.2.1./B-09/1/KONV-2010-0007, TÁMOP-4.2.2/B-10/1-2010-0024, TÁMOP 4.2.2.C-11/1/KONV-2012-0010 and TÁMOP 4.2.4.A/2-11-1-2012-0001 ‘National Excellence Program—Elaborating and operating an inland student and researcher personal support system’, projects. The TÁMOP projects are implemented through the New Hungary Development Plan, co-financed by the European Social Fund and the European Regional Development Fund. The authors are thankful for measuring the physical and chemical parameters to the Environmental Protection and Nature Conservation Authority, Trans-Tisza Region, for water discharge data and rainfall data to the National Water Authority and to the Hungarian Meteorological Service.
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