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Origin of phytoplankton and the environmental factors governing the structure of microalgal communities in lowland streams
Piirsoo, K.; Vilbaste, S.; Truu, J.; Pall, P.; Trei, T.; Tuvikene, A.; Viik, M. (2007). Origin of phytoplankton and the environmental factors governing the structure of microalgal communities in lowland streams. Aquat. Ecol. 41(2): 183-194.
In: Aquatic Ecology. Springer: Dordrecht; London; Boston. ISSN 1386-2588, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Community composition; Environmental factors; Epiphytes; Phytoplankton; Streams; Estonia [Marine Regions]; Fresh water

Authors  Top 
  • Piirsoo, K.
  • Vilbaste, S.
  • Truu, J.
  • Pall, P.
  • Trei, T.
  • Tuvikene, A.
  • Viik, M.

    Information on the structure of microalgal assemblages in the epiphyton and epilithon is necessary to understand the origin of phytoplankton in lowland rivers. To this end, we carried out concurrent investigations on phytoplankton, epiphyton and epilithon in 18 reaches of three Estonian rivers during the midsummers of 2002 and 2003. A total of 251 taxa was recorded, of which 192 were epiphyton species, 158 were epilithon species and 150 were phytoplankton species. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA), based on the 31 most abundant taxa, indicated differences in the structure of the algal assemblages between the different biotopes (phytoplankton, epiphyton and epilithon) as well as between the studied rivers. The composition of the phytoplankton clearly differed from that of the other biotopes, with prevailing small flagellates, a chrysophyte (Synura uvella) and cryptophytes (Rhodomonas lacustris and Cryptomonas erosa). The epiphyton was characterized by a large number of diatoms, while the epilithic community contained filamentous cyanobacteria (Phormidium tergestinum and Planktolyngya sp.) and a green alga (Stigeoclonium tenue) in addition to diatoms. Based on redundancy analysis (RDA), phosphorous was the most relevant parameter determining the distribution of species in the phytoplankton assemblages. Shading by trees on the river bank, dissolved oxygen concentration and water temperature as well as river width determined the distribution of species in the epiphyton. The data set on the epilithon did not reveal any significant relationships between species distribution and the measured environmental parameters.

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