Fragilaria and Staurosira (Bacillariophyceae) from sediment surfaces of 40 lakes in the Austrian Alps in relation to environmental variables, and their potential for palaeoclimatology

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Roland SCHMIDT *
Christian KAMENIK
(*) Corresponding Author:
Roland SCHMIDT |


The percentage distributions of Fragilaria and Staurosira taxa in surface sediment samples from 40 oligo- to ultra-oligotrophic, pH neutral to alkaline, mountain lakes of the central Austrian Alps (Niedere Tauern) were studied in relation to environmental variables using multivariate statistics. Selected taxa that were of uncertain taxonomy or that might be difficult to distinguish were illustrated in LM or SEM. The same statistics as they were applied to the total diatom data set were run on a Fragilariaceae subset with Fragilaria and Staurosira. These analyses emphasized on the high sensitivity of these genera to climate-driven environmental variables in mountain lakes. Canonical Correspondence Analyses (CCA) indicated that the pH, mean July water temperature (TJuly), length of ice cover, and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) made significant contributions to explain the variation in the diatom assemblages. In addition, water depth affected the distribution of benthic and planktonic taxa. Differences or similarities in ecological preferences of taxa provided suggestions for taxonomy. Correlations between the mean valve length and summer water temperatures increase the overall high potential of Fragilaria and Staurosira for palaeoclimatological reconstructions in mountain lakes.

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