Epilithic Diatom Assemblages in a Mountain Stream of the Lesser Himalaya (India): Longitudinal Patterns

Prakash Nautiyal, Asheesh Shivam Mishra


Epilithic diatoms were examined longitudinally with respect to trophic status and factor governing their distribution from a spring-fed lesser Himalayan stream; the Khanda Gad. The samples were collected at 4 stations from headwater to mouth; K1 to K4. The annual means of environmental variables - water temperature, channel width, depth, current velocity, discharge and dissolved oxygen increased from K1 to K4 downstream. The taxa were grouped into exceptionally high (>50%), moderate (20-50%) and low (10-20%) abundance. The species, Achnanthidium minutissimum, Cymbella affinis, Cocconeis placentula var. euglypta and Gomphonema olivaceum, were abundant longitudinally. The longitudinal variation in the taxa abundance downstream were; decreasing abundance (Achnanthidium minutissimum, Planothidium frequentissimum, Platessa conspicua), increasing abundance (Cymbella affinis, Cocconeis placentula var. euglypta, G. olivaceum) and other abundant taxa that appeared and disappeared. The trophic state was eutraphentic at K1 and K4, while mesoeutraphentic at K2 and K3. The share of eutraphentic and mesoeutraphentic taxa varied little at K1 but was considerably different at K4 compared to K2 and K3 where both forms accounted for 24-25% each.


Lesser Himalaya; Epilithic Diatoms; Assemblages; Distribution Patterns; Trophic State


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