The structure and diversity of freshwater diatom assemblages from Franz Josef Land Archipelago: a northern outpost for freshwater diatoms

Pla-Rabes, S.Hamilton, Paul B.Ballesteros, EnricGavrilo, MariaFriedlander, Alan M.Sala, Enric. PeerJ 4 : e1705 (2016)  DIGITAL.CSIC

We examined diatom assemblages from 18 stream and pond samples in the Franz Josef Land Archipelago (FJL), the most northern land of Eurasia. More than 216 taxa were observed, revealing a rich circumpolar diatom flora, including many undescribed taxa. Widely distributed taxa were the most abundant by cell densities, while circumpolar taxa were the most species rich. Stream and pond habitats hosted different assemblages, and varied along a pH gradient. Diatoma tenuis was the most abundant and ubiquitous taxon. However, several circumpolar taxa such as Chamaepinnularia gandrupii, Cymbella botellus, Psammothidium sp. and Humidophila laevissima were also found in relatively high abundances. Aerophilic taxa were an important component of FJL diatom assemblages (Humidophila spp., Caloneis spp. and Pinnularia spp.), reflecting the large and extreme seasonal changes in Arctic conditions.Wepredict a decrease in the abundance of circumpolar taxa, an increase in local ( -) freshwater diatom diversity, but a decrease in regional diversity (circumpolar homogenization) as a result of current warming trends and to a lesser extent the increasing human footprint in the region.