The use of diatoms in monitoring the development of created wetlands at a sandmining site in Western Australia

  • Jacob John
Conference paper
Part of the Developments in Hydrobiology book series (DIHY, volume 90)


Former sand-mining pits at Capel, 200 km south of Perth in Western Australia, have been rehabilitated into artificial wetlands since 1975–1979. A chain of fresh water lakes was created as a potential waterbird refuge and an area for passive recreation. Initially, the lakes had low pH, high ammonium, iron and manganese levels and low phosphorus concentration. The lakes were characterised by low diversity of diatoms dominated by acidophilous species. Following an increase in pH in the effluent water discharged into the lake from the mining process plant and landscaping of the lakes since 1988, the diversity of diatoms gradually increased. The system is now dominated by periphytic diatom communities, preferring high conductivity. There has been a marked transition in the diatom community from acidophilous to alkaliphilous species. Planktonic diatom blooms replaced dinoflagellate blooms. Concomitantly, there has been a dramatic increase in the diversity of invertebrates and waterbirds in these lakes. The value of diatoms in assessing the progressive development of created wetlands as self-sustaining ecosystems at sand mines in Australia is discussed.

Key words

acidophilous alkaliphilous bioindicators circumneutral diatoms wetlands restoration ecological engineering 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacob John
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Environmental BiologyCurtin University of TechnologyPerthAustralia

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