, Volume 815, Issue 1, pp 141–163 | Cite as

Causes of spatial distribution of subfossil diatom and chironomid assemblages in surface sediments of a remote deep island lake

  • Pedro Miguel Raposeiro
  • Alberto Saez
  • Santiago Giralt
  • Ana Cristina Costa
  • Vítor Gonçalves
Primary Research Paper


Until recently, the distribution of diatom and chironomid assemblages and their attributes (species richness/diversity) in relation to water depth and sedimentary environments have been identified but not quantified. The influence of environmental variables on assemblage distribution and taxa richness in a deep, monomictic lake in São Miguel Island is assessed. Attention is given to community variation along a water-depth gradient. Sediment core samples were analysed for diatom content, chironomids, and grain-size clastic particles along three transects from the shoreline to the central deep basin of the lake at a resolution of 1 m water depth. Linear and unimodal regressions were used to test taxon richness, taxon diversity and taxon evenness versus water depth of each transect. A hump-shaped relationship between species richness and water depth was noted, with a peak occurring at mid-depth, meaning that samples located at that depth better represented the total subfossil assemblage living in lake Azul. Moreover, data indicate that both assemblages in Lake Azul, and taphonomic effects, were influenced by processes of clastic transport depending on the lake morphology. Results from this study allow us to access the spatial distribution of biological assemblages in clastic-dominated lakes with a high topographic gradient, and provide us with principal criteria that will allow us to determine coring locations that capture the true species diversity for studies in lakes.


Diatom Chironomid Spatial distribution High-gradient lake species diversity 



Part of this study was financed by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (SFRH/BPD/99461/2014) and the PaleoNAO, RapidNAO and PaleoModes projects of the Spanish Ministry of Education (CGL2010-15767, CGL2013-40608-R and CGL2016-75281-C2-1-R, respectively). We deeply thank to Nora Richter for the revision of the English along the manuscript. We also thank the two anonymous reviewers whose comments/suggestions helped improve and clarify this manuscript. Finally, we are grateful to the Freshwater Ecology Group from the University of the Azores for all the help in field and laboratory work. The surveys performed comply with the current laws of Portugal.

Supplementary material

10750_2018_3557_MOESM1_ESM.docx (19 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 19 kb)


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pedro Miguel Raposeiro
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alberto Saez
    • 3
  • Santiago Giralt
    • 4
  • Ana Cristina Costa
    • 1
    • 2
  • Vítor Gonçalves
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, InBIO Laboratório Associado, Pólo dos AçoresAzoresPortugal
  2. 2.Departamento de Biologia, Faculdade de Ciências e TecnologiasUniversidade dos AçoresPonta DelgadaPortugal
  3. 3.Department of Earth and Ocean Dynamics, Faculty of Earth SciencesUniversitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.Institute of Earth Sciences Jaume, Almera (ICTJA-CSIC)BarcelonaSpain

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