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Validation of ecological status concepts in UK rivers using historic diatom samples

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Martyn Kelly, Emeritus Professor Steve Juggins, Roger Guthrie


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We assessed the feasibility of using herbarium specimens to validate reference conditions in the UK by comparing diatom community composition of river sites with both recent and historic diatom samples. The question of substrate specificity was addressed by comparing epilithon (stone-derived) and epiphyton (plant-derived) samples from a number of rivers. No significant differences were found between the Trophic Diatom Index (TDI), species richness, species diversity, and percentage of motile valves between paired diatom samples (epilithic and epiphytic) from contemporary samples. Significant differences were recorded between a number of indices derived from analysis of the historic diatom samples on plant material sampled pre-1930 compared with diatoms from stones collected post-1990 from the same river location. The TDI, mean species richness, and species diversity and percentage of motile valves and nutrient tolerant valves were all significantly greater in the contemporary samples (p

Publication metadata

Author(s): Yallop M, Hirst H, Kelly M, Juggins S, Jamieson J, Guthrie R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Aquatic Botany

Year: 2009

Volume: 90

Issue: 4

Pages: 289-295

ISSN (print): 0304-3770

ISSN (electronic):

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/j.aquabot.2008.11.005


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Funder referenceFunder name
The University of Bristol
EMC (03)01/WFD30UK Environment Agency