Rivers are constantly in motion Essay


Rivers are invariably in gesture in a unidirectional flow ; therefore it can be hard assessing H2O quality measurings such as alimentary degrees and other pollutants. It is estimated that there are 100s of 1000s of species of diatoms, with some research workers stating there could be up to one million species found in both fresh water and marine systems. Micro-algae, viz. diatoms have been used as biological indexs in wetlands and watercourses for many old ages and can state us about the ecosystem in which they live. Before one can utilize diatoms with assurance as biological indexs, nevertheless, diatom taxonomy must be reexamined for truth. Furthermore, given that diatoms are highly of import ecological beings, farther surveies should be undertaken to better understand micro-algae since they have non been studied extensively.

Because their taxonomy is in a province of flux, changing protocols sing diatom designation have created confusion in their categorization appraisals. More accessible and newer engineerings have lead to alterations of taxonomy, depicting new genera and species, and supplying ample grounds to question the truth of diatoms utilizing morphology merely. Specimens are frequently identified utilizing morphological features. These features include form, design and consistence and are frequently utilised for doing comparings of diatoms that have been described and identified utilizing keys, exposure, drawings, microscope slides and other agencies such as online algae web sites. This work is disputing and drawn-out due to the tremendous estimated figure of diatom species. The similarities between species are hard to distinguish because of their life rhythm ; nonsexual and sexual, and alterations in construction because of phenotypic malleability. Many research workers believe that utilizing DNA barcoding would be a valuable tool to assist place diatoms and supply a consistent classification methodological analysis that can be used by diatomists, ecologists, limnologists, life scientists, environmental research workers and anyone interested in the survey of diatoms.

Introduction to Diatom Biology

Diatoms are protists belonging to the phylum Heterokontophyta. They are eukaryotes known as brown algae belonging to the category Bacillariophyceae. Researchers believe that diatoms emerged from secondary endosymbiosis in the early cretaceous period about 150 million old ages ago ( Mya ) giving rise to centric diatoms and about 70 Myas for pennate diatoms. Molecular surveies have indicated that pennate diatoms, considered a monophyletic group, are derived from centric diatoms ( Round and Crawford, 1990 ; Hoek et al. , 1995 ; Delwiche et al. , 1997 ) . Diatoms are universally distributed and are omnipresent in all types of aquatic environments. They can be as individual cells ( 5µm – 150µm ) or organize big ironss or settlements, and can be ramifying, filiform or tube forming.

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Each diatom cell is surrounded by a cell wall known as a frustule, which consists of formless polymerized silicon oxide that resembles a Petri dish that overlaps a smaller Petri dish ( Figure 1 ) . The smaller frustule is known as the hypotheca and the larger frustule is called the epitheca. ( Round, 1971 ; Hoek et al. , 1997 ) .

The frustules are intricately ornamented, with a jewellery or graphics like visual aspect and can be rather beautiful. The wall construction is so consistent that diatom walls are sometimes used to graduate high-precision instruments, including light microscopes.

There are two basic organic structure forms of diatoms based on symmetricalness, centric and pennate ( Figure 2 ) . Centric diatoms are typically round with radial symmetricalness but can be star molded or can hold three or four corners. The centric diatoms are from the order Centrales. Some pennate diatoms have bilateral symmetricalness and may be shaped like a pen, while other pennates have thicker middles. All pennates have two mirror imaged valves with an oil filled vacuole called a rhaphe. The rhaphe helps the diatom slide on substrates. The pennate diatoms are from the order Pennales. They may be found as free musca volitanss ( i.e. , plankton ) , but are more frequently attached to stones, sticks, workss, larger diatoms and other substrates ( Round et al. , 1990 ) .

The pennate diatoms are typically lone cells, while the centric diatoms tend to be lone or concatenation forming and are linked by their cell wall or membrane. The pennate and centric diatoms reflect a major ecological difference since the centrales are found more frequently in marine environments as phytoplankton and the pennates are typically found in fresh water attached to substrates or as plankton ( Round, 1971 ) .

Diatom Reproduction

Asexual reproduction in diatoms is the prevailing manner. Diatoms are vegetatively diploid. In most species, when a diatom divides asexually the female parent cell will bring forth two diploid girl cells ( Figure 3 and 7 ) . One girl cell inherits the larger half of the frustule ( epitheca ) while the 2nd inherits the smaller half ( hypotheca ) .

As a consequence of nonsexual division, the mean size of diatom cells in the population gets smaller with clip ( Round et al. , 1990 ) . Once such cells reach a certain minimal size, they reverse this diminution by agencies of sexual reproduction by organizing an auxospore, a generative cell formed by the brotherhood of two cells that have diminished in size through repeated divisions. Sexual reproduction, hence, is initiated preponderantly in diatoms of little size ( Round et al. , 1990 ) . Because of the alternate diatom life rhythms, uncertainness and disagreements in the truth of terminology is common.

Ecology of Diatoms

Ecologically diatoms are diverse. They can be planktonic and can travel with the current and are found in the H2O column. They may be epiphytic, attaching to other submersed workss including macrophytes and larger diatoms, or epilithic, attaching to the aquatic substrate, such as pebbles, stones, and other difficult surfaces and as epipelons which are found in deposits ( Stevenson and Pan, 1999 ) . Planktonic diatoms in fresh water and marine environments can exhibit a bloom when conditions, such as visible radiation and foods in the upper assorted bed, are favourable. Bloomings are most noteworthy during the start of spring and warmer summer months when they can rapidly rule phytoplankton communities ( Furnas, 1990 ) .

iatoms as Biological Indexs

Diatoms have been widely used as biological indexs of H2O quality and can be utilized to observe chemical conditions in aquatic environments ( McCormick and Cairns, 1994 ; Stoermer and Smol, 1999 ) . Diatoms reproduce and respond quickly to alterations in their environment and are hence good index beings. They can be used as a step of environmental wellness and alteration, such as a pollution event, and can therefore supply a better apprehension and of import information on wetland, watercourse, and other home ground alterations every bit good as aquatic Restoration undertakings ( Rott, 1991 ) .

Because diatom walls are made of silicon oxide, the readying procedure allows diatom samples to be preserved and kept in storage for future analyses, doing them an indispensable tool for farther probe ( Stevenson and Pan, 1999 ) . Research workers have shown that alterations in diatom communities are often related to hapless H2O quality, such as high or low pH, pollution from excavation, taint from stormwater overflow, thermic pollution, and other anthropogenetic activities that influence diatom populations and communities ( Stevenson and Pan, 1999 ; Mann, 1996 ) . Diatoms are sensitive to the aforementioned and can be used to assist us do better land-use determinations, and integrate good direction patterns when pull offing imbibing H2O and delicate H2O systems, and surface and land H2O direction planning. This can be accomplished by using diatoms as biological indexs for H2O quality appraisals, provided they are accurately identified.


Since diatom frustules slides are easy to maintain for long periods of clip, they can be used for future mention ( Stevenson and Pan, 1999 ) . This is one of the characteristics that can do diatoms utile as environmental tools in a figure of Fieldss, including palaeoclimatology, ecology, geology, anthropology, biomonitoring, and palaeontology. They are of important ecological importance as they are the major nutrient beginning for both marine and freshwater beings ; the base of the nutrient concatenation within the ecological community. Diatoms are of import as good for the planetary C and silicon oxide rhythms ( Smetacek, 1999 ; Kemp et al. , 2000 ) . Interestingly micro-algae and macro-algae are frequently found in nutrient merchandises, drinks, shampoo, cosmetics, are used as insect pesticides and are found in other merchandises ( Round et al, 1996 ) .

Diatoms are major primary manufacturers and lend 25-40 % of the entire production on Earth ( Van Den Hoek et al. , 1997 ) . Bacillariophyceae and other algae are of import subscribers of energy flow. They are indispensable for the cycling of foods in surface Waterss and other H2O organic structures. Since they are the base of the nutrient concatenation, they create a balance within aquatic ecosystems and are of import to all life on Earth ( Sgro and Johansen, 1995 ; Van Den Hoek et al. , 1997 ) .


Since the 18th century the survey of diatom taxonomy has been ongoing though it wasn ‘t until Diatom taxonomy ha s been studied since the late 18th century ; nevertheless, the first existent progresss in the field came in the the early 19th century when research workers started utilizing diatoms to assist do betterments in microscope declaration and the first existent progresss began to happen. In 1847, Joseph Hooker confirmed Ehrenberg ‘s find of Diatomaceae and viewed diatoms under the microscope extensively when on board the H.M.S. Challenger. Hooker made many drawings of diatom morphology and their life rhythm, though at the clip unaware that some of the life rhythm alterations he was sing were of the same diatom species ( Blinderman and Joyce, 1998 ) .

Diatoms were one time identified entirely by morphology utilizing light microscopes. Until the scanning negatron microscope ( SEM ) and transmittal electron microscope ( TEM ) became more widely available, it was about impossible to separate the ultrastructures of these microscopic algae. With the usage of DNA sequencing, molecular informations, in concurrence with SEM and TEM for morphological designation, better confidence of the right designation and categorization of diatoms should happen. They should be used, nevertheless, with some grade of discretion since a genomic part has n’t been found that works systematically for all diatoms ( Silva, 2007 ) .

Nucleotide sequence analysis is still unfastened for argument and reading as to whether mitochondrial cox1 ( a protein found in the chondriosome ) is equal for all diatom species. Even with the cox1 argument, DNA barcoding can be an of import agencies for proper designation and should be considered for diatom taxonomy intents ( Silva, 2007 ; Evans and Mann, 2009 ) .

Although ecologists believe that diatoms make good indexs of H2O quality and can be used for geological, ecological, and limnological surveies, others believe that unless the taxonomy is accurate the information is subjective and likely incorrect. Without cognizing the diverseness of diatoms, the concerns with phenotypic malleability, life rhythm, deep species, along with environmental factors, can make unequal taxonomy of diatoms and may be hard to decide ( Mann and Droop, 1996 ; Kooistra et al. , 2008 ; Vyverman et al. , 1998 ; 2007 ; Darling et al. , 2004 ) .

There has been much argument as to whether morphology entirely can accurately place diatoms. Archibald ( 1984 ) highlighted that because of wrong taxonomy of diatoms by inexperient taxonomers many H2O quality appraisals and other surveies resulted in scientific and proficient inaccuracies ( Moniz and Kaczmarska, 2009 ) . Possibly most significantly, until a genome part is found that possesses adequate fluctuation that is enlightening and able to distinguish between divergent diatom line of descents, holding the generic taxonomy accurate may be sufficient plenty to distinguish diatom properties. The job remains, nevertheless, with renaming already named species. Diatom taxonomy is presently in a province of important transmutation and will go on to germinate for the unforeseeable hereafter as genera continues to be divided and new genera and species are created ( John, 1993b ; John, 1998 ) .

Phenotypic Plasticity

As noted above, diatom taxa have been characterized and identified by valve morphology, but taxonomy of diatoms is tenuous due to phenotypic polymorphisms ( Sarno et al. , 2005 ; Amato et al. , 2007 ; Vanormelingen et al. , 2008, Evans and Mann, 2009 ) . When exposed to different environmental factors, such as pH, chemical conditions, and ecological alterations, phenotypic malleability, a belongings by which a genotype may bring forth different phenotypes ( physical features of an being ) , can happen among diatoms. Diatom valve form and size, and consistence can be affected by photosynthetic potency and physical soaking up of foods, which can impact their rate of growing ( Bartual, 2008 ) .

Figure 8. Different morphs of Fragilaria construens from Avery Pond, CT ( USA ) as shown by SEM. First column: typical morphs of F. contruens, F. construens aff. volt-ampere. subsalina and F. construens volt-ampere. venter. Second column: morphs with wider areolae arranged in sawed-off striae. Third column: morphs with wider areolae arranged in longer striae. Scale bars ( from top to bottom ) : first column: 2, 5, and 2 µm ; 2nd column: 2, 2, and 2 µm ; 3rd column: 2, 2, and 2 µm.

hypertext transfer protocol: //ucjeps.berkeley.edu/constancea/83/morales_etal/fig._5.html

Phaeodactylum tricornutum have been extensively studied because of its phenotypic look when alterations in temperature, photosynthetic rate, and other environmental factors occur. They produce egg-shaped, fusiform, and triradiate morphs during these alterations ( Figure 9 ) . Research workers have extended cognition sing Phaeodactylum tricornutum malleability characteristics and have written assorted documents observing morphological changes attributable to environmental fluctuations ( Gutenbrunner et al. , 1994, Morales and Trainor, 2002 ) .

Ana Bartual

Figure 9: Phenotypic response of the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum Bohlin to experimental alterations in their organic C system

Cryptic Speciess

Cryptic species are those that are reproductively isolated from each other and hence genetically divergent ; nevertheless their morphology is really similar and in some instances about indistinguishable. One of the better-studied deep species composites of diatoms are in Sellaphora pupula agg, a widespread and widely distributed benthal fresh water group of species. There has been an ample sum of life rhythm and morphological informations generated on this species ( Behnke et al. , 2004 ; Mann and Droop, 1996 ; Mann, 1999 ) . Because of these surveies, the informations have verified a big figure of imposter, deep, and semi-cryptic species.

When analyzing Figure 10 ( Amato, 2007 ) , one can see the little morphological differences between micrographs A and B ( light microscopy ) , and C and D ( TEM ) . The diatoms were thought to be the same species until farther diagnostic methods were employed. Merely so were those little discrepancies observed ensuing in the formal acknowledgment of two species.

Figure 10: Cryptic species

Micrographs from visible radiation ( A, B ) and transmittal negatron microscopy ( C, D ) of Pseudo-nitzschia calliantha pse4 ( A-C ) and Pseudo-nitzschia delicatissima del1 ( B-D ) . Solid circles indicate the overlapping part between two next cells in a concatenation, dotted arrows the calf bone, solid arrows the wider separation of the two cardinal calf bones, solid ellipses the striae, dotted ellipses the interstriae, and arrowheads the poroids. Scale bars: 20 millimeter ( A, B ) , 1mm ( C, D ) . Amato et. Al 2007

Amato ( 2007 ) suggests that placing diatoms by their morphological characteristics entirely are non suited for accurate designation because of deep features and are hard if non impossible to separate ( Amato et al. , 2007 ) .

Deoxyribonucleic acid Barcoding

One hypothesis of finding molecular alpha-taxonomy is based on the divergency of a little DNA fragment that is variable plenty to find interspecific and even intraspecies familial distinction. A Deoxyribonucleic acid database specifically for micro-algae, similar to the quickly turning carnal phyla found in the Canadian Barcode of Life or GenBank, may be employed as a tool to separate between genera and species. It may besides be utile to find how diatoms can be utilized efficaciously for research, including H2O quality biological appraisals, every bit good as phyletic, and biogeographic surveies ( Hajibabaei et al. , 2007 ; Moniz and Kaczmarska et al. , 2009 ) .

Molecular information has the possible to heighten the designation of diatoms. DNA sequencing may better diatom terminology. Further methods need to be employed to measure diatom individuality and to develop an improved attack for H2O quality word picture, easing the preservation of surface and groundwater. To carry through this, proper designation must be employed. Workers have traditionally utilised morphological characteristics for placing diatoms. However, in recent times nucleotide sequence analysis has been proposed as a tool for diatom taxonomy ( Jahn et al. , 2007 ; Evans et al. , 2007 ; Kaczmarska et al. , 2007 ) .

Recently many inquiries sing the accurate terminology of sequenced species by molecular life scientists have emerged. There has been concern associated with the big figure of sequences in the public databases that have disagreements or are inaccurate. However some research workers believe that diatom taxonomy can be built entirely on a model based on DNA sequence informations ( McManus et al. , 2009 ) . Soon, DNA barcoding appears to be a utile add-on in the tool chest of techniques utilized to place diatoms.

If DNA was the lone tool for designation intents, it is thought that the already described features with other pertinent information sing diatoms ( i.e. , ecology, morphology, and plastic characteristics ) would be lost and no longer available ( McManus et al. , 2009 ) . Another issue that is of concern, is that presently the accessions to public familial databases are non regulated by a regulating organic structure therefore making confusion and inaccuracies between nucleotide sequence informations and falsely identified beings. A regulative or policy doing commission to guarantee appropriate truth should be considered ( McManus et al. , 2009 ) .

Several research workers have tried to turn up a specific site in the genome part to magnify, which includes the mitochondrial site cox1. Other sites include plastid-encoded rbcL and atomic encoded 18S rDNA ( SSU ) , and internal transcribed spacer ( ITS-2 ) . These parts do non, nevertheless, systematically work for all diatom species. The list of successful taxa that have used cox1 as a Deoxyribonucleic acid barcode is short ( Moniz and Kaczmarska, 2009 ) . There have been surveies performed in one genus where the cox1 part has worked successfully, nevertheless specific primers had to be developed ( Moniz and Kaczmarska, 2009 ; Evans et al. , 2007 ) . Evans et Al. ( 2007 ) revealed that happening an appropriate genome part that can be used for all diatoms was hard. They found that seeking to happen a part that was conserved plenty to plan cosmopolitan primers for diatoms was complicated and disputing. Moniz and Kaczmarska ( 2009 ) found that Deoxyribonucleic acid from other beings ( e.g. , bacterium ) was amplified instead than that of the diatom.

None of the three markers ( SSU, cox1, and ITS-2 DNA ) combined with the 5.8S cistron tested by Moniz and Kaczmarska ( 2009 ) fulfilled the function that cox1 seemed to supply for animate beings. The animate being phylum has a 95 per centum rate of success separating between species utilizing cox1 as a familial marker ( Moniz and Kaczmarska, 2009 ) .

There has been some recent development that soon indicates the possible usage of ITS-2, the 5.8S + ITS-2 fragment as a diatom DNA barcode ( Moniz and Kaczmarska, 2009 ) . Once a genome part that satisfies all diatoms is found and primers can be developed, utilizing DNA would be an added characteristic in the tool chest to assist do designation more accurate, dependable, and accessible.

More research is needed before DNA barcoding will be accurate plenty to utilize in separating between diatom species. First, an enlightening familial marker that can be used across a bulk if non all diatom line of descents will hold to be found. Specific diatom primers will necessitate to be designed if molecular techniques are to be a successful method to back up morphological designation and taxonomy. In my sentiment, utilizing a combined attack of both DNA barcoding and morphological characters to place diatoms is the best attack. The tool chest attack, i.e. holding more information and more tools to work with, is better than utilizing merely one method to place distinguishable evolutionary units of microscopic algae.

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