Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 275–307 | Cite as

Diatoms as indicators in the Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program-Surface Waters (EMAP-SW)

  • Sushil S. Dixit
  • John P. Smol


As a part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program-Surface Waters (EMAP-SW), sedimentary diatom assemblages were studied from 66 lakes in the northeastern U.S.A. to evaluate the applicability of diatoms for this nation-wide monitoring program. Sediment cores were collected from the study lakes and diatoms were analyzed from the top (present-day) and bottom (pre-industrial) sediment samples. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) was used to examine which environmental variables correlate most closely with the distributions of diatom taxa in the top (surface) samples. Forward selection and Monte Carlo permutation tests showed that diatom species distributions were significantly related to total lakewater phosphorus (TP), pH, chloride, Secchi depth, and lake size and maximum depth. We developed weighted-averaging calibration and regression models for inferring TP (r2=0.62), chloride (r2=0.61), pH (r2=0.86), and Secchi depth (r2=0.62). An index of overall lake disturbance was also developed. Our diatom data indicate that marked changes have occurred in the study lakes since pre-industrial times as a result of anthropogenic activity.


Regression Model Environmental Protection Agency Sediment Core Environmental Monitoring Permutation Test 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sushil S. Dixit
    • 1
  • John P. Smol
    • 1
  1. 1.Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Laboratory (PEARL), Department of BiologyQueen's UniversityKingstonCanada

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