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Relation of abundance-weighted averages of diatom indicator values to measured environmental conditions in standing freshwaters

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Original languageEnglish
JournalEcological Indicators
Volume4
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)255-275
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Abstract

Abundance-weighted averages of diatom indicator values for pH, salinity, organic nitrogen availability, oxygen saturation, saprobity and trophic status according to van Dam et al. [Neth. J. Aquat. Ecol. 28 (1994) 117] were calculated for surface sediment and epiphytic diatom assemblages in 186 standing waters distributed throughout Flanders, Belgium, and tested against environmental variables measured in the water column, covering water chemistry, trophic status and organic load.With exception of the pH indication, most scores related rather poorly to variables which they are assumed to reflect and correlated even more strongly to non-target variables. For instance, the trophic indication provided a measure of pH and base status rather than of nut ient levels or phytoplankton productivity. Relations to measured variables differed according to the pH regime. Correction for uneven distribution of indicator values in the species pool usually yielded little improvement and was detrimental in some cases. Compared to epiphyton, weighted averages of species indicator values derived from sediment assemblages tended to be higher in water bodies yielding the most elevated indication scores. Except for the pH and salinity indication, differences between weighted averages pertaining to these different habitats were often considerable. Limitations to the use of abundance-weighted averages of diatom indicator values for environmental monitoring and assessment of lentic waters are discussed.

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