Changes in epilithic diatom assemblages in a Mediterranean high mountain lake (Laguna de La Caldera, Sierra Nevada, Spain) after a period of drought



The epilithic diatom assemblages studied in the high mountain lake “La Caldera” (Granada, Spain) from 1996 to 1998 went through two clearly different stages. The initial one, in 1996, corresponded to the reflooding of the basin after a severe drought and was composed mainly of the colonising species Fragilaria rumpens, together with a lesser presence of Nitzschia sublinearis and Hantzschia amphioxys. The predominant presence of F. rumpens at the end of the summer of 2006 coincided with low species diversity (values of Shannon and Wiener Index: 0.3-0.6). During the following two years another assemblage established itself, dominated by Achnanthidium minutissimum, which is considered to be more stable and widespread among the lakes of the Sierra Nevada. The most notable subdominant species (less than 20% of relative abundance) in this assemblage were: Encyonema minutum, Encyonopsis microcephala and Navicula cryptocephala. The diversity values during this second period were much higher than in the first: 1.0-2.2. Nutrient concentrations were measured separately in the limnetic (epilimnetic) and benthic (epilithic) environments. These abiotic parameters show that the dynamics of ammonia and silica were much the same in both, showing a gradual decrease from the beginning to the end of the study period. Epilimnetic phosphorus followed a similar pattern to ammonia and silica. In the epilithon, nitrates and phosphates increased during the first year, only to descend notably during the second. The effect of other environmental parameters such as temperature and the preceding drought on the dynamics of the diatom assemblage are discussed. Ratio DIN:SRP let us test the different degrees of phosphorus limitation in epilithon and epilimnion environments; our results suggest that phosphorus limitation of primary production in high mountain lakes is much more severe in the limnetic environment that it is in the epilithon.


Download data is not yet available.
Original Articles
diatoms, epilithon, oligotrophic lakes, nutrients, Sierra Nevada, Spain
Abstract views: 2016

PDF: 533
Share it

PlumX Metrics

PlumX Metrics provide insights into the ways people interact with individual pieces of research output (articles, conference proceedings, book chapters, and many more) in the online environment. Examples include, when research is mentioned in the news or is tweeted about. Collectively known as PlumX Metrics, these metrics are divided into five categories to help make sense of the huge amounts of data involved and to enable analysis by comparing like with like.

How to Cite
SÁNCHEZ-CASTILLO P, LINARES-CUESTA E, FERNÁNDEZ-MORENO D. Changes in epilithic diatom assemblages in a Mediterranean high mountain lake (Laguna de La Caldera, Sierra Nevada, Spain) after a period of drought. jlimnol [Internet]. 1Feb.2008 [cited 27Feb.2020];67(1):49-5. Available from:

Most read articles by the same author(s)