3 years ago

Vertical distribution of benthic diatoms in a large reservoir (Alqueva, Southern Portugal) during thermal stratification

Maria Helena Novais, Alexandra Marchã Penha, Eduardo A. Morales, Miguel Potes, Rui Salgado, Manuela Morais

Publication date: 1 April 2019

Source: Science of The Total Environment, Volume 659

Author(s): Maria Helena Novais, Alexandra Marchã Penha, Eduardo A. Morales, Miguel Potes, Rui Salgado, Manuela Morais


Freshwater diatom communities are known to respond to a wide range of environmental factors, however, the depth gradient is usually neglected and few studies are available, especially in large reservoirs. During the ALqueva hydro-meteorological EXperiment (ALEX) field campaign, diatom communities were studied in the margins and in three platforms (from the surface to the bottom of the reservoir) located in the limnetic zone of the Alqueva reservoir, one of the largest artificial lakes in western Europe. A detailed meteorological and physico-chemical characterization of the reservoir was carried out from June to September in Summer 2014, when the reservoir was stratified, to relate these variables with diatom assemblages. Despite the large dimensions of the reservoir, no differences in the water physico-chemical characteristics and diatom descriptors were detected among platforms. Small changes in diatom assemblages, ecological guilds, taxa richness and Shannon diversity index were observed between sampling campaigns. Nevertheless, differences in diatoms were detected along a depth gradient, both in terms of diatom assemblages and ecological guilds. Taxa richness, Shannon diversity index, Pielou's evenness and Specific Pollution sensitivity Index (SPI) also differed with depth, with the lowest values of all indices detected at surface samples, increasing with depth, reaching the highest values at 20 m for taxa richness, Shannon diversity and Pielou's evenness indices.

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