Assessment of water quality based on diatom indices in a small temperate river system, Kowie River, South Africa
Keywords:biomonitoring, diatom indices, diatom community, Kowie River, nitrogen, multivariate analysis, point-source pollution, water quality
This study aimed to assess the impact of land use patterns on water quality and benthic diatom community structure and to test the applicability of diatom indices developed in other regions of the world to a small temperate southern African river system. Sampling was conducted at eight study sites along the length of the river on four separate occasions. Multivariate data analyses were performed on the diatom community dataset to specify the main gradients of floristic variation and to detect and visualize similarities in diatom samples in relation to land-use patterns within the catchment. One hundred and twelve (112) diatom species belonging to 36 genera were recorded during the study. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) demonstrated that variations in the benthic diatom community structure were best explained by ammonium, nitrate, conductivity, pH, temperature, resistivity and water flow. OMNIDIA was used for calculation of selected diatom water quality indices. A number of the indices, e.g., the trophic diatom index (TDI), eutrophication/pollution index and biological index of water quality (BIWQ), either under- or over-estimated the water quality of the system. With few exceptions, there were no significant correlations (p> 0.05) between the diatom indices’ values and the nutrient variables. The absence of any significant correlations between the diatom indices’ values and selected physico-chemical variables suggests that indices developed in other regions of the world may not be suitable for temperate southern African rivers.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2022 Tatenda Dalu, Taurai Bere, P William Froneman
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
The content of this journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Licence. Users are permitted to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search or link to the full texts of the articles in this journal under the terms of this Licence, without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author, provided the source is attributed. Copyright is retained by the authors.