Exploring the use of nuclear alterations, motility and ecological guilds in epipelic diatoms as biomonitoring tools for water quality improvement in urban impacted lowland streams
NICOLOSI GELIS, MARÍA MERCEDES; COCHERO, JOAQUÍN; DONADELLI, JORGE; GÓMEZ, NORA
ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
Año: 2020 vol. 110
In this study we explored the use of less conventional diatom metrics (motility, nuclear abnormalities and ecological guilds) to measure changes in diatom assemblages related to the transfer of epipelic communities from urban impacted streams to less impacted sites. Three lowland streams in the Argentine Pampean plain were selected, and two sites were established per stream for a total of six sites. Three sites were referenced as low urban impact (LI), as they run through peri-urban areas, and three downstream sites were referenced as high impact sites (HI), since they run through a dense urban area. Six germination trays filled with stream sediment were placed at each HI site, and three at each LI site, and left to be colonized for 30 days before transferring three trays from the HI sites to their respective LI site upstream. Samples were collected at days 0, 15, 30 and 45 days from each tray, and diatom species were identified and classified into ecological guilds. Motility variables were measure per individual of the genera Nitzschia (path length, velocity and maximum velocity) through video recording. Also, the frequency of abnormal nuclear locations and nuclear membrane breakage were determined. Results showed that there were no significant differences in any motility metrics, while the nuclei variables exhibited higher proportion of abnormally positioned nuclei and nuclear membrane breakage at the HI sites. The proportion of nuclear membrane breakage decreased over time in the translocated assemblage, indicating that it could be a sensitive indicator of water quality improvement, while the ecological guilds showed significant differences on the proportion of high profile and motile diatoms. The improvement in water quality produced a significative increase in the proportion of the high profile guild in the translocated biofilm. Despite the motile forms being the dominant group, the water quality improvement allowed the high profile forms, to colonize the substrate. These results emphasize the possible use of the ecological guilds as a suitable indicator of water quality improvement in Pampean streams, especially in nutrient rich environment. These tools can provide a rapid assessment of diatom condition and could be considered supplementary to biomonitoring protocols in lowland streams.