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Variation in benthic diatom (bacillariophyceae) immigration with habitat characteristics and cell morphology¹

Stevenson, R. Jan, Peterson, Christopher G.
Journal of phycology 1989 v.25 no.1 pp. 120-129
Bacillariophyceae, cell biology, diurnal variation, habitats, immigration, plankton, probability, species diversity, streams, summer
We studied the hypothesis that diatom immigration abilities are related to their fitness for colonizing stream substrates. Diatom abundances on artificial substrates exposed for 24 h (the measure of immigration rate) and abundances of stream plankton were determined in six habitats. Diatom immigration varied among habitats from 50-2500 cells·cm⁻²·d⁻¹. Immigration rates decreased 10-fold with increases in current from 10 to 30 cm·s⁻¹ but changed little during a 40-d summer period. Immigration abilities of diatom taxa were characterized as ratios of either their abundances or relative abundances in immigration assemblages versus in the plankton. Immigration abilities varied over 100-fold among different species. Immigration of some species could be characterized as slower than others in different streams; however, variation in immigration abilities of other species among streams indicated that environment also affected immigration. Diurnal variation in abundance and species composition of the immigration pool (stream plankton) can be important in assessing immigration abilities. Immigration ability may affect benthic diatom fitness. Monoraphid diatoms had a lower probability of immigrating from the plankton than araphid diatoms.