Diatom Project Update: Oxbows
by Katherine Johnson, Research Scientist
Along with sampling diatoms along the Savannah River, the Phinizy Center for Water Sciences (PCWS) will be conducting a base-line study of diatom species compositions and assemblages found in four of the river’s oxbows. These sites are labeled on the map below. This study will be carried out in conjunction with other oxbow studies that investigate species assemblages of fishes. With the biogeochemical data from these studies we may be able to gain further insight to ecosystem health, which will allow us to better assess possible water quality changes in the future.
From an initial pilot study (July-September), we have deployed, retrieved and processed collections for the first group of periphytometers (diatometers). Our samples have come from the following oxbows: Possum Eddy, Conyers, and Miller. So far, throughout this study, we have been able to identify 29 genera! A couple of diatoms from these samples are pictured here. Diatoms may be unicellular, or solitary, like the Frustulia sp. cell seen here. However, others are colonial, usually producing ribbon or chainlike filaments. The photo of Synedra sp. provides a good example of a diatom filament. Check out our blog next month to find out more about different types of diatoms.