Short-term fluctuations in benthic diatom numbers on an intertidal sandflat in the Westerschelde estuary (Zeeland, The Netherlands)

  • Koen Sabbe
Part of the Developments in Hydrobiology book series (DIHY, volume 90)


During the period March–May 1991, sediment samples were taken every two or three days at one intertidal station in the brackish part of the Westerschelde estuary. Quantitative cell counts were made in order to investigate the short-term temporal changes in diatom numbers and assemblage structure.

Throughout the whole sampling period, the diatom assemblage was dominated by epipsammic diatoms. Three species, Achnanthes delicatula, Opephora cf. perminuta and Catenula adhaerens on average accounted for almost 67% of all valves counted. The epipsammic diatom fraction showed no significant changes in absolute numbers; its species composition appeared relatively stable. In contrast, epipelic diatom densities significantly increased towards the end of the study period. Species composition within this fraction was less stable. Multivariate analysis (Principal Components Analysis), in combination with multiple regression, indicated that total sky irradiance (on the second and third day preceding sampling) and percentage organic matter were related to the short-term fluctuations of the epipelic diatom fraction.

Key words

benthic diatoms seasonality Westerschelde 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Koen Sabbe
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratorium voor Morfologie, Systematiek en Ecologie van de PlantenUniversity of GhentGentBelgium

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