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Algae assemblages and dominant macrophytes in small lowland rivers of Poland in relation to water quality and hydromorphology


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The study was carried out in the Polish Lowlands in the summer periods of 2005-2008. The results from almost half of the sites were very similar and showed that rivers were of moderate quality. Chlorophyta, Cryptophyta and Euglenophyta were common at sites with higher concentrations of phosphorus and nitrates, the presence of modifications, silty river bottom and higher pH. Nuphar lutea or Cladophora agg. were dominant species in the group of macrophytes and macroscopic algae. Diatoms occurred in significantly higher densities at sites with lower concentrations of nutrients, no or minor modifications, sandy river bottom and higher water conductivity, where Elodea canadensis, Glyceria maxima and Sparganium emersum were dominant macrophyte species.
Diagram of CCA ordination for algae and dominant macrophytes in relation to selected environmental factors Abbreviations in CCA diagram: Arrows -Cond. – conductivity, Mud – muddy bed material, pH – pH reaction, Resec. – resection, SRP – soluble reactive phosphates, Reinfor. – reinforcement, Sand – sandy bed material; Grey squares -Cyanoprokaryota: Aphflo -Aphanizomenon flos-aquae, Aphinc – Aphanocapsa incerta, Plalim -Planktolyngbya limnetica; Grey triangles -Bacillariophyceae: Achexi -Achnanthes exigua, Achmin -Achnanthidium minutissimum, Ampova -Amphora ovalis, Aulamb - Aulacoseira ambigua, Aulgra -Aulacoseira granulata, Cocpla -Cocconeis placentula, Cycmen -Cyclotella meneghiniana, Cycoce -Cyclotella ocellata, Cycope -Cyclotella distinguenda, Encmin -Encyonema minutum, Eunbil -Eunotia bilunaris var. bilunaris, Fracap -Fragilaria capucina, Fracro -Fragilaria crotonensis, Gomacu -Gomphonema acuminatum, Gomoli -Gomphonema olivaceum, Hipcap -Hippodonta capitata, Navcin - Navicula cincta, Navcry -Navicula cryptocephala, Navrad -Navicula radiosa, Navtri -Navicula tripunctata, Nitpal -Nitzschia palea, Nitrec - Nitzschia recta, Nitsig -Nitzschia sigmoidea, Pinvir -Pinnularia viridis, Plaele -Placoneis eleginensis, Punrad -Puncticulata radiosa, Stacon - Staurosira construens, Stapin -Staurosirella pinnata, Ulndel -Ulnaria delicatissima var. angustissima, Ulnuln -Ulnaria ulna; Rhombuses -Chlorophyta: Cosreg -Cosmarium regnellii, Descom -Desmodesmus communis, Dessub -Desmodesmus subspicatus, Moncon - Monoraphidium contortum, Mongri -Monoraphidium griffithii, Pedbor -Pediastrum boryanum, Sceacu -Scenedesmus acuminatus, Tetcau -Tetradron caudatum, Tetmin -Tetraedron minimum; Reversed triangles -Cryptophyta: Cryero -Cryptomonas erosa, Cryros -Cryptomonas rostrata, Rhomin -Rhodomonas minuta; Circles -Euglenophyta: Eugpis -Euglena pisciformis, Trahis -Trachelomonas hispida, Travol -Trachelomonas volocina; Rectangles -algae from other groups: Erksub -Erkenia subaequiciliata, Percin -Peridinium cinctum; Black stars – dominant macrophytes and structural algae: CLAAGG -Cladophora agg., ELOCAN -Elodea canadensis, GLYMAX -Glyceria maxima, LEMMIN -Lemna minor, NUPLUT -Nuphar lutea, SPAEME -Sparganium emersum, SPAERE -Sparganium erectum.
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© by PSP Volume 23 – No 2a. 2014 Fresenius Environmental Bulletin
Beata Messyasz1,*, Ryszard Staniszewski2 and Szymon Jusik2
1Department of Hydrobiology, Adam Mickiewicz University, Umultowska 89, 61-614 Poznan, Poland
2 Department of Ecology and Environmental Protection, Poznan University of Life Sciences, Piątkowska 94C, 60-649 Poznan, Poland
The study was carried out in the Polish Lowlands in
the summer periods of 2005-2008. The results from almost
half of the sites were very similar and showed that rivers
were of moderate quality. Chlorophyta, Cryptophyta and
Euglenophyta were common at sites with higher concen-
trations of phosphorus and nitrates, the presence of modi-
fications, silty river bottom and higher pH. Nuphar lutea
or Cladophora agg. were dominant species in the group of
macrophytes and macroscopic algae. Diatoms occurred in
significantly higher densities at sites with lower concen-
trations of nutrients, no or minor modifications, sandy river
bottom and higher water conductivity, where Elodea cana-
densis, Glyceria maxima and Sparganium emersum were
dominant macrophyte species.
KEYWORDS: phytoseston, diatoms, water chemistry, macro-
phytes, river modifications
The algae communities in rivers are very diverse and
less stable than in lake ecosystems. The number of bio-
seston cells in aquatic ecosystems, such as rivers, play an
important role in the food chain and depends on several
factors, including: season of the year, vegetation structure,
channel substrate, water chemistry, turbidity and, espe-
cially, current velocity [1-4]. For instance, the water turbid-
ity and channel shading may create poor light conditions
and significantly reduce the development of algae biomass.
Several water quality parameters were measured during the
research, such as pH reaction, conductivity, nitrates, solu-
ble reactive phosphates, total phosphorus and hardness.
Physico-chemical parameters of the river waters differ
according to season of the year (temperature, current veloc
* Corresponding author
ity) and thus they influence the biological activity of aquatic
organisms e.g. phytoplankton [5]. Additionally, the river
habitat characteristics (river channel modifications, bot-
tom material) together with the flow type affect the struc-
ture and abundance of microscopic organisms and macro-
phyte structure. In the case of lowland rivers, differences
in physico-chemical conditions during low-flows in sum-
mer are significant, thus considerable shifts in species com-
position are common even in watercourses located in the
same region [3, 5, 6]. Small lowland watercourses are very
diverse in terms of the width and depth, current velocity
and they are often eutrophic, especially when the watershed
area is large, or industrial and agricultural activities are
There are few biological studies of phytoseston in low-
land rivers of Poland, especially concerning the water dis-
charge differences [7, 8], and still little is known about the
impact of small river habitat modifications on planktonic
algae and macrophytes. The main objective of the surveys
was to identify the differences between phytoseston as-
semblages occurring at lowland river sites with different
physico-chemical characteristics and river modifications.
Diatoms were the core of the experiment, while macro-
phytes, chemical parameters and identification of river
habitat modifications were used for description of the river
sites and further comparisons. Seven small rivers (Meszna,
Noteć, Bachorza, Rgilewka, Samica Stęszewska, Główna,
Struga Kwilecka) within the Wielkopolska and Kujawy
regions (west and central Poland) were investigated.
The examined rivers represent lowland watercourses of
Wielkopolska Lakeland and are characterized by moderate to
high nutrient enrichment caused by the agricultural land-
scape, the lake trophic status and wastewater impact. Algae
are valuable indicators of the ecological status of fresh-
waters, particularly rivers, therefore algae assemblages
were studied and the obtained results were supplemented
with the results of the macrophyte survey.
The research was carried out in 2005-2008 at 20 se-
lected river sites situated in central and western Poland,
© by PSP Volume 23 – No 2a. 2014 Fresenius Environmental Bulletin
thus the results are to some extent conclusive for lowland
watercourses of Ecoregion 14. The surveyed rivers were
of similar size and depth, but different in terms of water
quality, vegetation cover and the range of river modifica-
tions [7-15]. Water samples and biological data were col-
lected in a warm season: the Meszna River was surveyed in
June-September 2005 and June-September 2006, the Noteć
River in June-September 2005, June-September 2006,
June-September 2007, the Bachorza channel in July-August
2005, the Rgilewka River in July-August 2005, June-
September 2008, the Samica Stęszewska River in July-
September 2005, the Główna River in June-September 2008
and the Struga Kwilecka River in June-September 2007.
The Noteć River is the largest tributary of the Warta
River with the watershed of about 17,300 km2 dominated
by agricultural and rural areas, and several towns. Mu-
nicipal wastewaters are the main threat to river quality.
Both water quality and hydromorphological conditions
varied between sites. The Meszna River with the water-
shed of 705 km2 is also a tributary of the Warta River and
has generally poor water quality. The Bachorza channel
(292 km2) is an old water way located in the agricultural
landscape. The Rgilewka River (594 km2 watershed) is a
typical lowland river with the dominance of agricultural
areas and meadows. The Samica Stęszewska River (about
183 km2) is situated in the Wielkopolska province and its
low water quality is mostly due to a high level of nutrients
and poor oxygen conditions. The Główna River (73 km2)
is a tributary of the Warta River and the last kilometers
run through the city of Poznań. The Struga Kwilecka with
moderately eutrophic waters is an outflow from Lake
Phytoseston samples were collected at 20 sites of
seven rivers: the Meszna River (site A – profile Kąty), the
Noteć River (B, N – Łysek, D, E – Mchówek, F –
Katarzyna, O, P – Kalina, R – Dzióbin, S, T – Lucynowo),
the Bachorza channel (C – Ujma Mała), the Rgilewka
River (G, H, I, J – Grzegorzew), the Samica Stęszewska
River (K – Krąplewo), the Główna River (L, M – Wier-
zenica) and the Struga Kwilecka River (U – Kwilcz) (Fig. 1).
The identification of species from particular groups of
algae was carried out based on current taxonomical books
of phycology [16-24 and others]. Species richness was
described as a number of algal taxa in each sample. For
quantitative analysis of phytoseston, the Kolkwitz sedi-
mentation chambers were used and algae cells were the
main counting units. The algae biovolume (biomass) was
calculated from the number of cells and the volume of
species [25, 26].
The macrophyte survey was conducted along 100 m
stretches using the Macrophyte Method for River As-
sessment. This method is currently the official monitoring
approach for rivers in Poland The survey includes a list of
species and estimated vegetation cover. The presence of
each species was recorded with their percentage cover
using the following nine-point scale: < 0.1%, 0.1 1%, 1
2.5%, 2.5 5%, 5 10%, 10 25%, 25 50%, 50 75%
and > 75% [27].
FIGURE 1 - Sketch map of surveyed sites.
Assessment of water quality was made using two al-
gae indices: PSI Specific Pollution Sensitivity Index [28]
and GDI Generic Diatom Index [29]. The ranges of PSI
and GDI scores are presented in Table 1. The evenness
index J (the range from 0 to 1) was expressed with the
Shannon-Weaver diversity index. Furthermore, selected
water quality parameters were examined using standard
methods: pH and conductivity – electrometrically, soluble
reactive phosphates the Ascorbic Acid Method, total
phosphorus the Acid Persulfate Digestion Method, ni-
trates the Cadmium Reaction Method, water hardness –
visual rapid tests. River and river valley modifications were
described using terms from River Habitat Survey meth-
odology [30, 31].
TABLE 1 - Evaluation of water quality using PSI and GDI.
Water quality PSI GDI
Canonical ordination analysis for relating the biologi-
cal data (taxonomic composition of algae and macrophytes)
to the environmental variables were carried out using
CANOCO for Windows version 4.5 [32]. The appropriate
type of analysis (CCA Canonical Correspondence Analy-
sis) was chosen to analyze the biological data by DCA
(Detrended Correspondence Analysis) and the length of the
gradient. Preliminary DCA on the biological data revealed
that the gradient length was more than 4 SD (the standard
deviation) indicating that the biological data exhibited
unimodal responses to underlying environmental variables,
which justified the use of unimodal multivariate methods.
Only algae species with high frequency in the examined
material were included in the statistical analysis, while
species with low frequency (below 30%) were excluded
to avoid the effect of uncertainty in the calculations. The
© by PSP Volume 23 – No 2a. 2014 Fresenius Environmental Bulletin
statistical significance of the relationship between the bio-
logical data and the physical and chemical parameters of
water was evaluated using the Monte Carlo permutation
test (499 permutations) [32]. The abbreviations used for
algae and macrophyte species names corresponded to the
first three letters of the Latin generic name and the first
three letters of the species name.
There were 215 identified algae species (86 diatoms,
72 green algae, 30 cyanobacteria and 27 taxa of algae from
other taxonomical groups) and only 29 species were com-
mon for all seven investigated rivers. Species richness during
the study period was low and ranged from 21 to 84 species.
The lowest number of identified taxa, equal to 21 (13 dia-
toms, 4 green algae, 3 cyanobacteria and 1 cryptophyte),
was observed in the Noteć River (site Łysek, N). The high-
est number of identified taxa was found in the Główna
River (site L) where as many as 84 species (48 diatoms,
19 green algae, 9 blue-green algae and 8 species from
other groups) were recorded. The taxonomical dominance
of diatoms was found at each site. The mean values of the
evenness biodiversity index were rather high and oscillated
between 0.35 and 0.82. The highest value of the evenness
index was observed in the Noteć (site T) and Główna
River (L). The lowest value of the evenness index and the
lowest species diversity (only 21 taxa) of algae were ob-
served in the Noteć River (site N).
A total of 86 species of diatoms were identified in the
investigated rivers (Table 2). From all of the phytoseston
species found in the studied rivers, only Cocconeis pla-
centula Ehr., Puncticulata radiosa (Lemm.) Håkan. and
Ulnaria ulna (Nitzsch) Compère occurred at every site.
Characteristic diatom species were not found in the Meszna,
Bachorza and Rgilewka rivers, while Caloneis fontinalis
(Grun.) Lange – Bertalot & Reich., Encyonema elginense
(Hust.) D.G. Mann, Eunotia arcubus Nörpel & Lange-
Bertalot, Meridion circulare Ag. in the Notec River,
Craticula cuspidata (Kütz.) Mann in the Samica Steszewska
River and Asterionella formosa Hass, Diatoma vulgaris
Bory occurred only in Struga Kwilecka. Moreover, Ca-
loneis silicula (Ehr.) Cleve, Encyonema affine Metz. &
Kram., C. turgidula Grun., Epithemia adnata (Kütz.)
Bréb., E. zebra var. saxonica (Kütz.) Grunow, Gyrosigma
acuminatum (Kütz.) Rabenhorst, G. attenuatum (Kütz.)
Rabenhorst and Nitzschia frustulum (Kütz.) Grun. were
found only in the Główna River.
Most of the analyzed water chemical parameters had
their maximum values at sites with the dominance of Am-
phora ovalis and Gomphonema olivaceum (Table 2). More-
over, high conductivity supported the abundant occurrence
of Encyonema minutum, Staurosira construens, Hippo-
donta capitata and Nitzschia recta. These species, like
Ulnaria delicatissima var. angustissima, were also tolerant
of high concentration of phosphates and nitrates. Compared
to the list of other diatoms in Table 2, Achnanthidium
minutissimum was a characteristic species of a low trophic
status with less nutrient-rich conditions.
TABLE 2 - Mean±SD (and weighted average of value) of physico-chemical parameters of water, characterized the most common diatom
species. N – number of river sites
Conductivity Total
phosphorus Phosphates Nitrates Total
No. Diatom species N pH reaction
[mS·cm-1] [mg P·dm-3][mg PO
43-·dm-3] [mg N-NO3 ·dm-3] [mg CaCO3 ·dm-3] [mg CaCO3 ·dm-3]
1. Achnanthidium minutissimum 16 7.30±0.32
(1.02) 0.35±0.45 (0.24) 305±65 (262) 179±51 (143)
2. Amphora ovalis 15 7.32±0.37
(1.54) 0.41±0.45 (0.64) 314±64 (304) 192±46 (179)
3. Aulacoseira granulata 11 7.34±0.36
(1.11) 0.38±0.44 (0.46) 304±46 (328) 182±47 (175)
4. Cocconeis placentula 20 7.33±0.36
(1.00) 0.35±0.41 (0.40) 305±61 (300) 186±49 (176)
5. Cyclotella ocellata 15 7.43±0.37
(0.96) 0.36±0.39 (0.30) 319±60 (335) 193±51 (220)
6. Cyclotella distinguenda 13 7.33±0.37
(1.66) 0.31±0.41 (0.42) 287±48 (262) 176±48 (155)
7. Encyonema minutum 11 7.30±0.31
(1.01) 0.34±0.40 (0.61) 308±47 (297) 177±50 (154)
8. Gomphonema olivaceum 10 7.24±0.33
(1.27) 0.35±0.41 (0.32) 330±70 (390) 189±48 (207)
9. Hippodonta capitata 11
(0.94) 0.43±0.38 (0.57) 310±39 (303) 195±48 (174)
10. Nitzschia recta 11 7.28±0.30
(0.94) 0.38±0.38 (0.15) 294±49 (287) 180±48 (185)
11. Puncticulata radiosa 20 7.33±0.36
(1.00) 0.35±0.41 (0.34) 305±61 (327) 186±49 (203)
12. Staurosira construens 14 7.38±0.39
(1.10) 0.45±0.45 (0.44) 307±44 (317) 195±42 (211)
13. Staurosirella pinnata 16 7.31±0.38
(0.61) 0.30±0.33 (0.29) 292±49 (289) 182±46 (178)
14. Ulnaria delicatissima var. angustissima 15 7.24±0.30
(0.97) 0.17±0.19 (0.13) 307±68 (309) 183±49 (176)
15. Ulnaria ulna 20 7.33±0.36
(0.99) 0.35±0.41 (0.49) 305±61 (293) 186±49 (188)
© by PSP Volume 23 – No 2a. 2014 Fresenius Environmental Bulletin
TABLE 3 - Relative biomass (%) of dominant algae taxa in phytoseston, total biomass of algae (mg·dm-3) and total coverage of the macro-
phytes (%) in surveyed river sites
Site code
Dominant phytoseston taxa Algae
group A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T U
Aulacoseira ambigua Dia 18
Aulacoseira granulata Dia 19
Ceratium hirundinella Din 12
Cocconeis placentula Dia 8 14 43 24 41 12 12 12 16
Cryptomonas erosa Cry 9
Cryptomonas ovata Cry 26 22
Cyanodictyon sp. Cya 62 23
Cyclotella meneghiniana Dia 16
Cyclotella ocellata Dia 18
Euglena limnophila Dia 31 27 27 17
Jaaginema geminatum Eug 15
Nitzschia recta Dia 21 9 25 25
Pediastrum boryanum Dia 12
Pinnularia viridis Dia 11
Planktolyngbya limnetica Cya 10
Puncticulata radiosa Dia 14 16
Staurosira construens Chl 34 28 19
Staurosirella pinnata Dia 14
Ulnaria ulna Cya 11
Ulothrix zonata Chl 13 14
Total biomass of algae in phytoseston [mg·dm-3]
7.5 4.4 0.8 6.0 4.6 40.9 6.8 8.8 5.8 4.5 8.6 19.2 18.2 2.0 7.7 8.2 3.1 1.6 0.7 1.8
Total coverage of the macrophytes [%]
11.3 105.8 99.3 30.6 30.6 79.3 6.7 16.1 19.1 19.1 89.8 6.8 6.8 105.1 15.4 43.3 71.5 75.0 71.5 6.4
(Algae groups: Chl – green algae, Cry – cryptophytes, Cya – cyanobacteria, Dia – diatoms, Din – dinoflagellates, Eug – euglenoids)
The dominant community was composed of 20 spe-
cies (11 diatoms, 3 cyanobacteria, 2 green algae, 2 crypto-
phytes, 1 euglenoid, 1 dinoflagellate). Only Cocconeis pla-
centula Ehr. dominated at most sites (Table 3). The highest
concentration of phytoseston biomass was above 40 mg·dm-3
and was observed in the Noteć River (F). At the same time,
the lowest phytoseston biomass was recorded mainly in the
Bachorza River (C) and the Noteć River (T). Large biomass
diversity was found within single rivers, e.g. the biomass in
the Noteć River at the F site was 40.86 mg·dm-3, while at
the T site only 0.66 mg·dm-3 (Table 3). The structure of
phytoseston communities was dominated by diatoms and
green algae (mainly small Chlorococcales) at all study sites.
The total cover of macrophytes at the surveyed river sites
varied between 6.4% (Struga Kwilecka, site U) and 105.8%
(Noteć, site B). At two surveyed sites (B and N), the cover
of macrophytes was higher than 100% (Table 3). This was
caused by a very strong development of several layers of
vegetation (emergent macrophytes, submerged and free
floating). Lemna minor was the most common species,
identified at 11 sites (C-F, H-M, R). Its cover ranged from
1.75% to 62.5%. Another very common species was
Glyceria maxima, which was found at 8 sites (F-J, N, R-
S), and its cover was within the range of 1.75-37.5%. At
four sites, both species occur in large numbers in the
Noteć River (F and R) 37.5% and 17.5%; in the
Rgilewka River (I, J) 7.5%.
Based on the PSI and GDI indices, the ecological
status of the studied sites was very diverse (Table 4). It
varied from high to poor (PSI: 16 in the Meszna River;
11-17 in the Noteć River, 11-15 in the Noteć River, 15 in
the Bachorza and Samica Stęszewska rivers, 15-16 in the
Rgilewka River, 13 in the Główna River, 14 in Struga
Kwilecka, GDI: 16 in the Meszna, Bachorza and Samica
Stęszewska rivers, 13-17 in the Noteć, 10-12 in the Noteć,
15-16 in the Rgilewka and Główna, 13 in Struga Kwilecka).
TABLE 4 - Biological indices using diatoms to assess the ecological
status of rivers (PSI - Specific Pollution Sensitivity Index; GDI -
Generic Diatom Index.
PSI Ecological status
GDI Ecological status
A 16 Good 16 Good
B 16 Good 17 High
C 15 Good 16 Good
D 17 High 15 Good
E 17 High 16 Good
F 15 Good 16 Good
G 15 Good 16 Good
H 16 Good 15 Good
I 16 Good 15 Good
J 15 Good 15 Good
K 15 Good 16 Good
L 13 Moderate 15 Good
M 13 Moderate 16 Good
N 12 Moderate 11 Moderate
O 11 Poor 10 Poor
P 13 Moderate 12 Moderate
R 11 Poor 11 Moderate
S 15 Good 14 Good
T 15 Good 14 Good
U 14 Moderate 13 Moderate
Results of the Monte Carlo test for the studied rivers
showed that the observed differences in the algae species
structure is not accidental but is significantly related to
environmental factors (F = 8.33; p = 0.002; number of
permutations = 499). The first two axes explain 47.3% of
the total variability of relations between species and envi-
ronmental factors (λ1 = 0.425, λ2 = 0.273) (Fig. 2). Micro-
© by PSP Volume 23 – No 2a. 2014 Fresenius Environmental Bulletin
scopic algae from Chlorophyta, Cryptophyta and Eugleno-
phyta were common at modified sites (resection, reinforce-
ment) with higher concentrations of nutrients (nitrates,
phosphates), silty river bottom and higher pH (Fig. 2). In
the case of macrophytes, Nuphar lutea was the dominant
species or Cladophora agg. as a representative of macro-
scopic algae. At river sites characterized by: lower concen-
trations of biogens, no or minor modifications, sandy river
bottom and higher water conductivity Bacillariophyceae
were the most common group of algae (Fig. 2). Elodea
canadensis, Glyceria maxima and Sparganium emersum
were the dominant species among macrophytes.
The total number of algae taxa identified in all samples
was 215. The phytoplankton species richness was low (21–
55; the average of 44) in the rivers with under-developed
aquatic flora as compared to the average number of 55–84
algae taxa per sample in rivers with a large number of
macrophytes. The Główna River was the exception from
68 to 84 species of algae were found in the phytoseston.
Typically, the blue-green and green algae were found in
the slow-flowing waters, while diatoms dominated in rivers
with a rapid current. Although pennate forms were most
FIGURE 2 - Diagram of CCA ordination for algae and dominant macrophytes in relation to selected environmental factors
Abbreviations in CCA diagram:
Arrows - Cond. – conductivity, Mud – muddy bed material, pH – pH reaction, Resec. – resection, SRP – soluble reactive phosphates, Reinfor. –
reinforcement, Sand – sandy bed material;
Grey squares - Cyanoprokaryota: Aphflo - Aphanizomenon flos-aquae, Aphinc – Aphanocapsa incerta, Plalim - Planktolyngbya limnetica;
Grey triangles - Bacillariophyceae: Achexi - Achnanthes exigua, Achmin - Achnanthidium minutissimum, Ampova - Amphora ovalis, Aulamb -
Aulacoseira ambigua, Aulgra - Aulacoseira granulata, Cocpla - Cocconeis placentula, Cycmen - Cyclotella meneghiniana, Cycoce - Cyclotella
ocellata, Cycope - Cyclotella distinguenda, Encmin - Encyonema minutum, Eunbil - Eunotia bilunaris var. bilunaris, Fracap - Fragilaria capucina,
Fracro - Fragilaria crotonensis, Gomacu - Gomphonema acuminatum, Gomoli - Gomphonema olivaceum, Hipcap - Hippodonta capitata, Navcin -
Navicula cincta, Navcry - Navicula cryptocephala, Navrad - Navicula radiosa, Navtri - Navicula tripunctata, Nitpal - Nitzschia palea, Nitrec -
Nitzschia recta, Nitsig - Nitzschia sigmoidea, Pinvir - Pinnularia viridis, Plaele - Placoneis eleginensis, Punrad - Puncticulata radiosa, Stacon -
Staurosira construens, Stapin - Staurosirella pinnata, Ulndel - Ulnaria delicatissima var. angustissima, Ulnuln - Ulnaria ulna;
Rhombuses - Chlorophyta: Cosreg - Cosmarium regnellii, Descom - Desmodesmus communis, Dessub - Desmodesmus subspicatus, Moncon -
Monoraphidium contortum, Mongri - Monoraphidium griffithii, Pedbor - Pediastrum boryanum, Sceacu - Scenedesmus acuminatus, Tetcau - Tetrad-
ron caudatum, Tetmin - Tetraedron minimum;
Reversed triangles - Cryptophyta: Cryero - Cryptomonas erosa, Cryros - Cryptomonas rostrata, Rhomin - Rhodomonas minuta;
Circles - Euglenophyta: Eugpis - Euglena pisciformis, Trahis - Trachelomonas hispida, Travol - Trachelomonas volocina;
Rectangles - algae from other groups: Erksub - Erkenia subaequiciliata, Percin - Peridinium cinctum;
Black stars – dominant macrophytes and structural algae: CLAAGG - Cladophora agg., ELOCAN - Elodea canadensis, GLYMAX - Glyceria
maxima, LEMMIN - Lemna minor, NUPLUT - Nuphar lutea, SPAEME - Sparganium emersum, SPAERE - Sparganium erectum.
© by PSP Volume 23 – No 2a. 2014 Fresenius Environmental Bulletin
frequent, centric forms were often more conspicuous eco-
logically, e.g. Aulacoseira and Cyclotella. Taxa with the
highest frequency included: Achnanthidium minutissimum,
Amphora ovalis, Cocconeis placentula, Puncticulata ra-
diosa, Ulnaria ulna, Monoraphidium contortum, Plank-
tolyngbya limnetica and Tetraëdron minimum. It appears
that differences in the phytoplankton variables between
the investigated rivers are mainly related to changes in the
water chemistry and physical features of a given river.
The results also indicate that the data on algae and
macrophytes can be used to predict some habitat features.
In addition, the quality of water at a given point of the
river is also affected by the catchment area situation and
habitat factors found in the upper section of the river. At
one side of the gradient, populations of algae in the phy-
toseston community can intensively develop on account
of habitat conditions, while at the other end, algae tend to
move with the water current. This often contributes to
smaller diversification of algae communities than observed
in lakes [5, 6]. Simultaneously, algal communities are char-
acterized by high dynamics of seasonal changes [33] and
rapid response to changes in the environment [34], which
sometimes makes it difficult to interpret the results.
The composition of phytoplankton assemblages was
determined, as well as the contribution of particular algae
groups to the total quantity and biomass. Based on the total
biomass of the summer phytoseston community, some simi-
larities were found between certain rivers. The analysis
indicated that the following species occurred with signifi-
cant biomass in all the rivers: Cocconeis placentula, Punc-
ticulata radiosa, Staurosira construens, Staurosirella pin-
nata, Planctolyngbya limnetica, Desmodesmus communis,
D. subspicatus, Scenedesmus acuminatus, Pediastrum
boryanum, Monoraphidium contortum and Tetraëdron
minimum. All algae species whose populations built the
phytoseston biomass belong to cosmopolitan taxa and are
characteristic of eutrophic waters [5, 35]. The related re-
search on the relationship between planktonic diatom com-
munities and environmental variables in 10 lakes of the Salt
Lake Basin in Turkey were conducted by Akbulut and
Dügel [36]. The main water chemistry variables influenc-
ing the species composition of planktonic diatoms were
found to be total nitrogen, sulfate and Secchi depth [35].
Five common and most abundant diatom species charac-
teristic of eutrophic ecosystems were found when compar-
ing the results: Amphora ovalis, Aulacoseria granulata,
Cyclotella ocellata, Ulnaria ulna and Gomphonema oliva-
ceum. The optimum level of total nitrogen in lakes ranged
within 2.64-3.58 mg N·dm-3, while nitrate levels in the
rivers were in the range of 0.35-0.45 mg N-NO3-·dm-3.
Diatoms preferred permanently mixed habitats and
therefore, the optimum of their development occurs mainly
in the autumn-spring season. Diatoms (40% or more), green
algae and cyanobacteria were the dominant components of
the phytoseston community in the euphotic zone of both
investigated rivers. Reynolds [5] reported that centric dia-
toms dominate mostly in the phytoseston community in
rivers. In this study, the river phytoseston was also domi-
nated by Cocconeis placentula – an epiphytic and eutro-
phic taxon which was more abundant in the Samica
Stęszewska river and the Noteć River. Centric diatoms
Puncticulata radiosa (Notec site F, Rgilewka site G) and
Cyclotella meneghiniana (Rgilewka site H) also occurred
in large numbers. It has been previously reported that the
peak of diatom concentrations in the late summer was
observed in the rivers with a raised water level [5, 6, 37].
Values of the water quality assessment indices of dia-
tom communities determined for all the rivers confirm
good or moderate quality of their water and, in most cases,
indicate the moderate eutrophic status. The observed values
of PSI (from 11 to 17) and GDI (from 10 to 17) indices for
20 examined river sites indicated that the river water qual-
ity is good or moderate. A similar range of variation in the
PSI index was observed in the Greek rivers [38]. Algae
(mainly diatom) assemblages were distributed continuously
along gradients of water pH and nutrients. The SPI index
was one of the indices recommended by Kwadrans et al.
[39] for monitoring the rivers in Poland. Other studies [6,
37, 40] have confirmed that this index best matches the
water quality in European countries.
Multivariate analyzes are frequently and successfully
applied in the analysis of relationships between different
groups of algae and environmental factors [36, 41, 42].
Multivariate analysis between certain physico-chemical
river characteristics and algae groups in the studied rivers
revealed the relationship between the abundance of Chloro-
phyta, Cryptophyta and Euglenophyta and higher concentra-
tions of nitrates and phosphates, the presence of modifica-
tions (resection, reinforcement), silty river bottom and
higher pH. Such a correlation confirms the indicative role
of mixotrophic forms of algae (cryptophytes and eugle-
noids), which are characteristic of eutrophic water bodies,
rich in nutrients and organic matter [43-44]. At the same
time, Nuphar lutea was the dominant macrophyte species
at the study sites, or sometimes the macroscopic alga
Cladophora agg. The abundance of Nuphar lutea was often
correlated with the significant presence of other taxa such
as Glyceria maxima, Elodea canadensi, Sparganium erec-
tum and Hydrocharis morsus-ranae, especially in the Noteć
River. Taxa like N. lutea, S. erectum and G. maxima are
typical for waters rich in nutrients. At some sites of the
Noteć River, e.g. S and T, the Nupharo-Nymphaeetum
community was identified.
The obtained results demonstrated a higher contribu-
tion and stronger attachment of Bacillariophyceae to the
river sites characterized by lower concentrations of nutri-
ents, no or minor modifications, sandy river bottom and
higher water conductivity. The relationships between dia-
toms and the sandy river bottom was stronger due to the
complicated texture of this substratum, which takes up
more space for benthos colonization, therefore supports more
organisms which can supply the euphotic zone as a result
of the water turbulence. Moreover, Elodea canadensis,
Glyceria maxima and Sparganium emersum were ob-
© by PSP Volume 23 – No 2a. 2014 Fresenius Environmental Bulletin
served as dominant macrophytes. At such river sites, the
nutrient tolerant species, like Lemna minor and Phrag-
mites australis, were also found. At the sites situated on
the Noteć and Rgilówka rivers, the Glycerietum maximae
community (nutrient tolerant) was identified, and in the
Samica Stęszewska and Noteć rivers –the Elodeetum cana-
densis communities.
In conclusion, the results of this study indicate that
diatoms’ communities were dominant in the rivers with a
rapid water current, while cyanobacteria and green algae
in slow-flowing rivers. The results of classifications,
based on the physical and chemical measurements, and the
trophic and saprobic diatom spectrum, as well as hydro-
morphological features and the aquatic vegetation struc-
ture data, indicated that the waters of the Noteć River sites
are characterized by poorer quality compared to the other
studied rivers.
This study was supported by the Polish Ministry of
Education and Science grant (Project number: N N305
3637 33).
The authors have declared no conflict of interest.
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Received: July 29, 2013
Revised: October 14, 2013
Accepted: October 18, 2013
Beata Messyasz
Department of Hydrobiology
Adam Mickiewicz University
Umultowska 89
61-614 Poznan
FEB/ Vol 23/ No 2a/ 2014 – pages 581 - 588
... The sites of the Noteć River in Kujawskie Lakeland ( Figure 1) were situated in the agricultural landscape with the developed reclamation system, domination of arable lands, and improved grasslands [6][7]. Water quality in this watershed is affected by human activities, mostly agriculture and municipalities. ...
... The rate of such a decrease of nutrient concentration below a lake can reach 24% in the case of phosphorus and even 40% of nitrogen as in Mielno Lake watershed [19]. Seasonal variations of trophic parameters can differ from several hundred percent for certain rivers (as in the Buyuk Melen and Kucuk Melen rivers in Turkey [20]) to slight changes in the Noteć in Poland [5,7]. Changes of macrophyte taxa structure were analysed using PCA, due to the small gradient of variability represented by first axis (only 2.023 SD). ...
Full-text available
The research area was situated in Kujawskie Lakeland (central Poland), where agricultural landscape, arable lands, and improved grasslands prevail. River water samples for physico-chemical analyses were collected in the years 1999, 2006, and 2010, together with macrophyte data. All studied sites were localised in the rural landscape with insignificant impact of shading on the structure of aquatic taxa. The analysis of temporal changes in the taxonomic composition of macrophytes was performed with linear indirect PCA ordination. Evaluation of the trophic status of the Noteć River was performed using different macrophyte metrics and the chemical index of trophy. There were not significant temporal shifts of the trophic level of studied sites evaluated both using macrophyte metrics and hydrochemical index, but particular physico-chemical parameters like total phosphorus, soluble reactive phosphates, conductivity, and pH reaction showed statistically significant temporal changes. Significant difference of trophic states between sites localised below lakes and the others was observed for all years.
... Diatoms, as excellent bioindicators, are commonly used in europe to assess the ecological status of surface waters (Whitton et al. 1991;lecointe et al. 1993;Prygiel & Coste 1993;Kelly & Whitton 1995;Whitton & Rott 1996;Prygiel et al. 1999;Prygiel 2002;Kelly 2003Kelly , 2013Kelly et al. 2008;Bennion et al. 2014). in Poland, diatoms are used as indicators of environmental conditions and their changes, for studying present and past (paleoecological) ecological status of various (gołdyn 1989;Kwandrans et al. 1998Kwandrans et al. , 1999Kwandrans 2000Kwandrans , 2002Rakowska 2001;Bogaczewicz-Adamczak & Dziengo 2003;gołdyn & Szeląg-Wasielewska 2004;Szeląg-Wasielewska 2004;Żelazowski et al. 2004;Dumnicka et al. 2006;Szczepocka & Szulc 2009;Messyasz et al. 2010Messyasz et al. , 2014Rakowska & Szczepocka 2011;Witak 2013). in the assessment of water quality, specific kinds of software (such as omndidia) are also used, containing indicative values and degrees of sensitivity of individual diatom taxa (lecointe et al. 1993). ...
The aim of this work was to investigate the diversity of diatom assemblages developed in the Przyrwa stream, to assess water quality based on benthic diatoms and to make an attempt at the identification of physicochemical factors having the greatest impact on the differentiation of diatom assemblages. Studies were conducted in 2011-2012 on the Przyrwa stream, a left-side tributary of the Wisłok River flowing through the city of Rzeszów and with its spring section located on the borders of the city. A total of 259 diatom taxa were identified in the Przyrwa stream during three studied seasons. At all investigated sites, the most abundant population consisted of Ulnaria ulna (Nitzsch) Compère, Cocconeis pediculus Ehrenb., Achnanthidium minutissimum (Kütz.) Czarnecki var. minutissimum, Navicula gregaria Donkin, Planothidium frequentissimum (Lange-Bert.) Lange-Bert., P. lanceolatum (Brébisson) Lange-Bert., Navicula lanceolata (C. Agardh) Ehrenb., Amphora pediculus (Kütz.) Grunow, Eolimna minima, (Grunow) Lange-Bert., Melosira varians C. Agardh and Cyclotella meneghiniana Kütz. Based on IPS (Specific Pollution Sensitivity Index) and GDI (Generic Diatom Index) indices, the ecological status of the Przyrwa stream was assessed as moderate to poor (mostly III-IV class of water quality), while the TDI (Trophic Diatom Index) index indicated a poor to bad ecological status (mainly IV-V class of water quality).
The main aim of the study was to determine the environmental history and climatic change taking place during the Late Saalian/Eemian transition, particularly at the start of the Eemian interglacial. Paleolake sediments from two cores from the Garwolin Plain (Central Poland) were subjected to diatom analysis. Altogether, 63 genera including 335 species and varieties were recognized. A clear shift in diatom composition was observed, from an assemblage dominated by periphytic species including Fragilaria sensu lato taxa to a planktonic one comprising Cyclotella sensu lato species. These changes in diatom assemblages and the relative abundance of the dominant and sub-dominant taxa indicated fluctuations in water level and regional climate oscillation. The transition from the Late Saalian to the Eemian was marked by a gradual increase in the contribution of summer-blooming diatom species, indicating the presence of a growing season and humid warm conditions, together with a rise in water level. The predominance of an alkaliphilous assemblage indicates alkaline conditions in the paleolake. The local diatom assemblage zones correspond very closely with the palynostratigraphy of the period under examination.
Full-text available
"WATER QUALITY PARAMETERS OF A SMALL MIDFOREST WATERCOURSE RECEIVING DOMESTIC SEWAGE AFTER TREATMENT" The Struga Kwilecka is flowing through several lakes, watershed is dominated by arable lands and its total area is equal to 48 km2. Studies were carried out in part of river localised in a forest. Analyses of water quality changes of watercourse below sewage discharge were made in the years 2008-2011. Waste water treatment plant situated in Kwilcz town is a biological type one with additional settling pond, which sometimes caused increase of phosphorus concentration in sewages discharged to studied watercourse. Worsening of river water quality was found particularly in site localised 100 metres below discharge. In other sites situated 350 and 700 metres below interceptor the situation was getting better despite low river water discharge. Positive changes in water quality were observed in case of trophic parameters, as like as soluble reactive phosphates, total phosphorus, nitrates and also for conductivity. Due to shadow conditions in river valley only few aquatic species were identified in watercourse with domination of reed with some minor area covered by other taxa including mosses.
Full-text available
The phytoseston in the Płociczna River originated mainly from lakes situated in its water course. It was more abundant and diverse in spring than in summer, which was related to differences in water discharge. The phytoseston abundance between the stations at the inlets and outlets of the successive lakes increased 9.7, 1.9 and decreased 1.4 times, respectively. A gradual reduction in the abundance of organisms was also noted at the outlets of successive lakes, which indicated a decrease in the trophic status of the water. The abundance of phytoseston between the outlets and inlets to the subsequent lakes (river stretch) decreased considerably. Disturbances in the river continuum system caused by the lakes situated in the river course resulted in the acceleration of potamoplankton succession.
Full-text available
Community structure of benthic diatoms in Cip stream was studied over a 1 -year period. A total of 72 taxa were identified from epipelic habitats as well as epilithic and epiphytic assemblages. The aim of this paper is to determine the species diversity and similarity of periphyton in different habitats of the stream. Of these, certain diatom taxa exhibited clear microhabitat preferences. Gomphonema acuminatum, Gomphonema parvulum, Placonesi elginensis and Rhopalodia musculus were recorded in the epilithic substrates. Epithemia argus and Pinnularia divergens were recorded only in the epipelic habitats, whereas Caloneis bacillum, Fragilaria ulna, Geissleria decussis, Nitzschia constricta and Pinnularia viridis were found only in the epiphytic assemblages.
The aim of the studies carried out in the year 2000 was evaluation of Mean Trophic Rank (MTR) method for water trophy assessment in the Kujawskie Lakeland and estimation of necessary changes in list of bioindicators. During researches results from MTR were compared with Chemical Index of Trophy (CIT) created for conditions of the Kujawskie Lakeland. Obtained results were very promising and both methods could be used in this region in the future.
Epilithic diatom assemblages were studied in the Alfeios and Pinios rivers. Species richness, relative abundance and diversity were analysed in order to describe the key features of the diatom communities. The problem of the Water Frame Directive (WFD, 2000/60/EC) implementation in the Greek rivers, where there are no long-term biological monitoring data sets, was raised. In the present study, some diatom assemblages are revealed in the different sections of the rivers. The results showed that the use of IPS (Specific Polluosensitivity Index) and CEE (Index of European Economic Community) diatom indices are able to emerge trends in the biological quality of the two rivers.
During May 2002- April 2003, 72 field works were done on 6 sampling points at Dariören stream basin (Isparta/ Turkey). Ecological methodologies (species richness, diversity and saprobic indices, as well as multivariate analysis) were employed to assess the impact of the pollution on epilithic diatom assemblages. Biological oxygen demand, NH4-N, NO 3-N, NO2-N SO4, conductivity, total hardness and turbidity parameters were increased, pH was variable, but dissolved oxygen was decreased at the 5th and 6th sampling points of the stream, which were affected by organic and inorganic pollutants. Changes in water quality levels were better reflected by saprobic index and by principal component analysis than species richness and diversity indices in the Dariören stream.
Algal communities play a crucial role in aquatic food chains by transfer and bioaccumulation of selenium to higher trophic levels. The inhibitory effect of selenium compounds in two oxidation states Se(IV) (SeO2, H 2SeO3, Na2SeO3) and Se(VI) (Na 2SeO4 and H2SeO4(nia)3) on growth, chlorophyll a and chlorophyll b production of algae Desmodes-mus quadricauda, Desmodesmus subspicatus, Chlorella vulgaris and Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata was investigated. The effect of selenium compounds was dependent on the concentration and chemical species of the element. All salts of selenium inhibited growth of the algae when compared to controls. For single algae and tested metals, the following rank orders for growth inhibition can be established: D. quadricauda: H2SeO3 > H 2SeO4(nia)3 = SeO2 » Na 2SeO3 » Na2SeO4; D. subspicatus: H2SeO3 » SeO2 > Na 2SeO3 » H2SeO4(nia) 3 » Na2SeO4; C. vulgaris: SeO2 » H2SeO3 > H2SeO4(nia) 3 > Na2SeO3 » Na2SeO 4; P. subcapitata: H2SeO4(nia)3 > SeO2 > H2SeO3 » Na 2SeO4 > Na2SeO3. D. subspicatus was the most sensitive to selenites, while in presence of selenates, D. quadricauda exhibited the highest sensitivity. Alga D. subspicatus appeared to be approximately three times more sensitive to H2SeO3 than D. quadricauda. Na2SeO4 had the weakest and H 2SeO3 the strongest inhibitory effect on chlorophyll production of all tested algae.
Planktonic assemblages of diatoms and dinoflagellates were examined at the mouth of Ria de Aveiro (temperate estuary, NW Portugal) with regard to major physical-chemical variables. Sampling was performed weekly between May 2006 and October 2007, 90 minutes before high tide. Canonical Correspondence Analysis, applied to the abiotic data matrix, revealed a clear temporal variation correlated with temperature. A total of 40 taxa, belonging to 9 different genera of diatoms and 11 genera of dinoflagellates, were quantified. The genera Ceratium, Dinophysis and Protoperidinium were the most represented, followed by Pseudonitzschia and Paralia. The late spring and summer months of 2006 were clearly dominated by dinoflagellate species. CCA analysis revealed two main phytoplankton groups, forced respectively by water temperature and salinity: dinoflagellate species, associated with high temperature and salinity values; and marine diatom species situated opposite to the temperature vector. The majority of the species had their temperature optimum in the range 15.0 - 17.0 °C. Ceratium longipes had the lowest optimum (13.4 °C), with Ceratium macroceros having the highest optimum value (18.2 °C). The year 2006, due to the increase of water temperature has been, for itself, an atypical year, allowing us to foresee the occurrence of different phytoplanktonic assemblages from the ones previously recorded at this latitude.