Diatom Voucher Flora and Comparison of Collection and Taxonomic Methods for Biodiversity Hotspot Upper Three Runs Creek

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Water (Switzerland)


Incorporating diatoms species and their autecology from reference stream conditions is essential for improving the accuracy of North American diatom bioassessments. This study documents a voucher flora and physicochemical conditions of Upper Three Runs Creek (UTRC), a tributary to the Savannah River that has been protected from heavy human activity for the last 50 years. The algae of UTRC and its watershed have been monitored continuously during this time by the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia to detect potential impacts from the Savannah River Site and Plant Vogtle. Standard protocols were used to sample and denote substrate types and preferences and to estimate relative abundances of diatom species. Data from artificial substrates (diatometers) were compared to composite samples. Phenotypic plasticity of taxa from Gomphonema parvulum, Eunotia incisa, and Tabellaria flocculosa sensu lato species complexes were considered in biodiversity metrics. We provide documentation of these separations. A total of 297 species/operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were recorded. For 2018 samples, Eunotia rhomboidea accounted for 8.3% for separated taxa methods and G. parvulum sensu lato (16.2%) dominated for combined taxa methods. Luticola goeppertiana (5.4%) was the most abundant taxon in the 1956 samples. The 1956 composite samples species richness means were greater and significantly greater than those for other sample types (ANOVA, df = 3, p = 0.004). The recounted 1956 composite samples had the highest species richness (153) followed by the left diatometer (129). At the same location, the right and left diatometers were not similar. Both methods (diatometers and composite sampling) are useful when assessing species richness. Diatom community composition indicated an acidic and highly oxygenated environment.


Biological and Environmental Sciences

Volume Number


Issue Number




This document is currently not available here.