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Strong and recurring seasonality revealed within stream diatom assemblages

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Andy Large



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2019, The Author(s). 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.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Snell MA, Barker PA, Surridge BWJ, Benskin CMWH, Barber N, Reaney SM, Tych W, Mindham D, Large ARG, Burke S, Haygarth PM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Scientific Reports

Year: 2019

Volume: 9

Issue: 1

Online publication date: 01/03/2019

Acceptance date: 12/12/2018

Date deposited: 20/03/2019

ISSN (electronic): 2045-2322

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-37831-w

PubMed id: 30824739


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