J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2005, Vol. 47 ›› Issue (2): -.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2005.00035.x

• Research Articles •    

Relationship Between Surface Sediment Diatoms and Summer Water Quality in Shallow Lakes of the Middle and Lower Reaches of the Yangtze River

Xiang-Dong YANG, Xu-Hui DONG, Guang GAO, Hong-Xi PAN and Jing-Lu WU   

Abstract: The relationship between surface sediment diatoms and summer water quality was investigated at 49 lakes in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. Lakes ranging from oligomesotrophic to hypereutrophic were examined, providing an obvious nutrient gradient. With the shift from mesotrophic to eutrophic levels, diatom multi-ecotypes dominated by epiphytic and facultative planktonic taxa were replaced by nutrient-tolerant planktonic taxa, such as Cyclotella meneghiniana Skvortzow, C. atomus Hustedt, Cyclostephanos Round, and Stephanodiscus Ehrenberg etc., reflecting the nutrient changes in the lake. The relationship between diatoms and summer water quality indices was explored further using numeric analysis. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) with forward selection and a Monte Carlo permutation test revealed that of all 25 summer water environmental variables, total phosphorus (TP), chlorophyll a (Chl a), Secchi depth (SD), dissolved inorganic phosphorus, Cl–, SO42–, Mg2+, CO32–, and water depth were significant variables (P<0.05) in explaining diatom distributions. Of these, TP, Chl a, SD, and Cl–, were the most important variables. The result of the correlation analysis also showed that a significant correlation exists among these variables, implying that these indices are either interconnected or independent in explaining the diatom data. For phosphorus-limited sites, TP was the most significant variable affecting the diatoms, also affecting changes in Chl a, SD, and iron concentrations. The independence of Chl a may be related to algal competition induced by lake eutrophication, resulting in the feedback to diatom community. In addition to TP, SD can be related to sediment disturbance by wave action and the growth of macrophytes in large shallow lakes. These relationships between diatom ecotypes and water quality provide the basis for a future quantitative reconstruction of historic lake nutrient evolution in the study area and will also provide a wealth of modern ecological knowledge that can be used to interpret fossil diatom records.

Key words: canonical correspondence analysis (CCA), diatoms, middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, shallow lakes, water quality.

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