Strong and recurring seasonality revealed within stream diatom assemblages

Snell, Maria and Barker, Philip Anthony and Surridge, Benjamin William James and Benskin, Clare McWilliam Haldane and Barber, Nick and Reaney, Sim and Tych, Wlodzimierz and Mindham, David and Large, Andy and Burke, Sean and Haygarth, Philip Matthew (2019) Strong and recurring seasonality revealed within stream diatom assemblages. Scientific Reports, 9 (1). ISSN 2045-2322

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Improving stream water quality in agricultural landscapes is an ecological priority and a legislative duty for many governments. Ecosystem health can be effectively characterised by organisms sensitive to water quality changes such as diatoms, single-celled algae that are a ubiquitous component of stream benthos. Diatoms respond within daily timescales to variables including light, temperature, nutrient availability and flow conditions that result from weather and land use characteristics. However, little consideration has been given to the ecological dynamics of diatoms through repeated seasonal cycles when assessing trajectories of stream function, even in catchments actively managed to reduce human pressures. Here, six years of monthly diatom samples from three independent streams, each receiving differing levels of diffuse agricultural pollution, reveal robust and repeated seasonal variation. Predicted seasonal changes in climate-related variables and anticipated ecological impacts must be fully captured in future ecological and water quality assessments, if the apparent resistance of stream ecosystems to pollution mitigation measures is to be better understood.

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Journal Article
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Scientific Reports
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01 Mar 2019 16:05
Last Modified:
20 Sep 2023 01:20