Diatoms as an Evaluation Tool for the Ecological and Environmental Conditions of Rivers and Streams in China: A Retrospective Study

  • Yuanda Lei
  • Yasu Wang
  • Richard William Jordan
  • Shijun JiangEmail author


Diatoms play a crucial role as primary producers at the base of aquatic ecosystems, and their community dynamics and diversity patterns are sensitive indicators of ecological and environmental changes. Diatoms have been increasingly used in ecological assessments of rivers and streams in China from 1980 to 2017, especially after 2000. In this chapter, we review the development history, basic rationale and technical application of the typical approaches, attempting to provide an overall perspective of the applications of diatoms to environmental assessments in China. Benthic diatoms are preferentially used in river assessments with increasing incorporation of planktonic species. Diatom-based indicators including biomass, diversity, species dominance and autecology have been well used as traditional methods for decades in China, while the diatom biotic indices and multimetric indices have been tested across the country and widely accepted as more effective means. This indicates that diatoms are a useful tool in river biomonitoring programs for water resource management across the world, and its future applications are promising as global environmental change continues to escalate.


Diatom Ecological assessment Water quality River China 



This study was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China grants (No. 41672004 and 41672346).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yuanda Lei
    • 1
  • Yasu Wang
    • 1
  • Richard William Jordan
    • 2
  • Shijun Jiang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Groundwater and Earth Sciences, Key Laboratory of Eutrophication and Red Tide Prevention of Guangdong Higher Education InstitutesJinan UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Faculty of ScienceYamagata UniversityYamagataJapan

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