, Volume 473, Issue 1–3, pp 179–201 | Cite as

The diatom flora of the Salton Sea, California

  • Carina B. Lange
  • Mary Ann Tiffany


We report on diatom species of the Salton Sea, a highly saline (43 g l−1) inland lake in California. We identified and photographed all diatom taxa encountered in the phytoplankton and benthos of the Salton Sea and its immediate tributaries. Ninety-four taxa were distinguished based on their morphological features using light- and electron microscopy. In the Salton Sea, there are four general categories of diatom assemblages related to their habitats: (1) A planktonic assemblage composed of Chaetoceros muelleri var. subsalsum, Cyclotella choctawhatcheeana, Cyclotella sp., Cylindrotheca closterium, Pleurosigma ambrosianum, Thalassionema sp.; (2) a benthic assemblage with diatoms that live on the bottom (e.g. genera Caloneis, Diploneis, Entomoneis, Gyrosigma, Plagiotropis, Pleurosigma, Surirella and Tryblionella), or in algal mats (Proschkinia bulnheimii, several species of Navicula and Seminavis gracilenta); (3) an epiphytic community attached to the macroscopic green algae which grow on the rocks and other hard surfaces near shore (e.g. Achnanthes brevipes, Licmophora ehrenbergii, Tabularia parva); and (4) a freshwater assemblage composed of species that get washed in by the rivers and other inflows discharging into the Sea (e.g. Achnanthidium minutissimum, Cocconeis pediculus, Cyclotella atomus, C. scaldensis, Nitzschia elegantula, T. weissflogii). The most striking feature of the phytoplankton is the abundance of species formerly known only from marine environments; this is not surprising given the high salinity and the peculiar history of the lake.

diatoms saline lakes Salton Sea California 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carina B. Lange
    • 1
  • Mary Ann Tiffany
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de OceanografiaUniversidad de ConcepcionConcepcionChile
  2. 2.Dept. of Biology and Center for Inland WatersSan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoU.S.A.

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