Can the presence of curved forms of the diatom Aulacoseira ambigua in the Nile (Egypt) and Vaal (South Africa) Rivers be ascribed to similar water quality conditions?
Spiral colonies of the diatom Aulacoseira ambigua were assigned the rank of forma (Aulacoseira ambigua f. japonica). This spiral-shaped, colonial, centric diatom has limited geographical distribution and is currently reported to occur in only a few countries in the world. In Africa this species was described for the first time from the Vaal River, South Africa, but recent research on the Nile River also revealed its presence in Egypt. Physical and chemical data on water quality in these two river systems were compared to determine whether the presence of this uncommon ‘phenoecodeme’ could be ascribed to similar environmental conditions. Results indicate that the rivers are dissimilar with regard to many variables, but both rivers provide turbid, warm and eutrophic waters with medium to high mineral content and it was concluded that these factors favour and sustain the growth of this curved form.
Keywords: Bioassessment, eutrophic, environmental variables, first record, physicochemistry, spiral diatom