STP690: Distinguishing Between Live and Dead Diatoms in Periphyton Communities

    Owen, BB
    Staff ecologist, ecologist, and associate ecologist, Northern Environmental Services, NUS Corporation, Pittsburgh, Pa.

    Afzal, M
    Staff ecologist, ecologist, and associate ecologist, Northern Environmental Services, NUS Corporation, Pittsburgh, Pa.

    Cody, WR
    Staff ecologist, ecologist, and associate ecologist, Northern Environmental Services, NUS Corporation, Pittsburgh, Pa.

    Pages: 7    Published: Jan 1979


    Abstract

    A staining procedure was developed that allows the distinction between diatom frustules that had cell contents (“live”) and those that were empty (“dead”) at the time of collection. Preserved samples were stained with acid fuchsin, dehydrated, and mounted in Hyrax. The permanent Hyrax mounts allow the investigator to study diatoms as well as other algae with reasonable taxonomic surety, and to distinguish live from dead diatoms. Studies of samples from diverse habitats indicate that percentages of dead diatoms in periphyton communities can range from 1 to 79 percent, and samples usually contained more than 10 percent empty frustules. Sources of dead diatoms are discussed, and the significance of distinguishing dead from live diatoms is considered relative to community analyses.

    Keywords:

    periphyton, algae, dead diatoms, staining, microcommunities, measurements


    Paper ID: STP35064S

    Committee/Subcommittee: D19.24

    DOI: 10.1520/STP35064S


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