Autecology of terrestrial diatoms under anthropic disturbance and across climate zones


J. Foets, J. Stanek-Tarkowska, A.J. Teuling, B. Van de Vijver, C.E. Wetzel, and L. Pfister


Ecological Indicators, vol. 122, art. no. 107248, 2021


Like aquatic diatoms, terrestrial diatoms are sensitive to multiple environmental factors such as pH, anthropic disturbances, soil moisture and nitrogen. While most aquatic diatom species have well-known autecological values for several important variables, qualifying them as biological indicators, this potential has not yet been untapped for terrestrial diatoms. Here, we aim to establish autecological values for pH and soil moisture content using weighted averaging for common, widespread terrestrial diatoms and compare them with previous calculated indicator values and tolerance ranges. In order to provide robust autecological values, we combined the data of ecological studies carried out across a range of climate conditions. We found that our validation metrics improved considerably after removing samples collected in anthropic disturbed habitats, suggesting that anthropic disturbance is the principal factor defining taxon occurrences. Besides our results showing similarities with previous studies, they also showed a significant improvement on the existing indicator values. Moreover, we expanded the list of terrestrial diatoms to 249 taxa that may serve as environmental markers in different research fields.



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