Original paper

Factors affecting the periphytic diatom community in Mediterranean coastal wetlands (Emporda wetlands, NE Spain)

Trobajo, R. Quintana


Species composition and ecological preferences of the most important periphytic diatom taxa were studied in lentic ecosystems in the salt marshes of Empordà wetlands (NE Spain). Correspondence analysis with the diatom communities suggested that water confinement/flooding gradient and productivity of the system were the principal factors affecting diatom distribution in the salt marshes of Empordà wetlands. Hierarchical analysis clusters allowed 5 diatom assemblages be distinguished, each one characteristic of different degrees of confinement and productivity. Bacillaria paradoxa appeared as the most characteristic species in low confinement and high productivity conditions. Navicula perminuta and N. salinarum were representative of flooding and low productivity conditions. During maximum confinement and low productivity situations Cocconeis placentula dominated the diatom community. When maximum confinement was attained in the waterbodies with higher productivity, this dominance was shared with Nitzschia archibaldii . The 39 species considered proved to be tolerant to salinity and nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus and organic matter) variability. This seems to be a prerequisite for survival in salt marshes where the very dynamic nature of the system results in a large variability of the physical and chemical water composition.


species compositionlentic ecosystemssalt marshesproductivity conditionsphysical water compositionchemical water composition