Rev.: Algological Studies 104 top ↑
The present book by KOMAREK & JANKOVSKA represents a long-expected starting point in comprehensive evaluation of Pediastrum remains for the purpose of palaeoecological research. It summaries the experience of two leading scientists, a systematic algologist and a paleoecologist, with the material found in fossil and recent sediments at different geographic situations, i.e., different altitudes, latitudes and longitudes. The contemporary knowledge of ecological requirements of individual Pediastrum species is completed by information derived from their fossil finds. The main merit of this book is to build an interdisciplinary link to species taxonomy, ecology and palaeolimnology with the goal to reconstruct the trophic and temperature conditions of past water ecosystems. Pure algological systematicists may miss detailed classification of several problematic taxa, but the interdisciplinarity and straightforward character of this pioneering work are the main values, according to my personal view as a palaeoecologist.
The contents of the book are divided into three main parts. The first concerns species cytology, life cycle, morphology of the cell wall, and recent ecology. The second part contains a well-elaborated key to identification into species and, if needed, into intraspecific level. The key is richly illustrated using instructive drawings and SEM micrographs. In these, discrimination characters are indicated by arrows. The last, most innovative part, concerns palaeoecological implications of Pediastrum species. It is based largely on original data. Subfossil coenobia are pictured on quality photomicrographs. Proportion between individual parts is balanced, subordinating one's interest to the main scope.
Due to the lack of systematic attention to the subject in the past, the present book is undoubtedly Incomplete in many respects. Despite this bad circumstance, it represents a solid body of up-to-date knowledge to be used by future palaeoecologists and palaeolimnologists. According to my opinion, more research is needed to evaluate the role of azonal microhabitats (seasonaly warm littoral parts of arctic water pools, hot/cold underwater springs of many lakes in different climatic situations; to put at least some examples) in reproduction of Pediastrum populations. Such azonal environments may disturb the geographic distribution patterns of the species and thus may eventually alter with palaeoclimatic reconstructions. We can only expect the raise of interest among limnologists and palaeolimnologists, to whome the book by KOMAREK & JANKOVSKA is highly stimulative.
Algological Studies 104