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Epilithic Diatoms

The ECN protocol for diatoms on submerged stones (FDT)


Protocol file


Site types that use this protocol

Diatoms are a diverse group of unicellular algae and are well-established as sensitive biological indicators of surface water quality due to the narrow tolerance of individual species to environmental parameters such as pH and nutrient availability.  Diatoms grow attached to submerged stones within certain zones of lakes and streams and are easy to sample in most freshwaters in a replicable manner.  The sampling procedure adopted by ECN is simple and follows that used for the United Kingdom Acid Waters Monitoring Network .


Our field activities


As we head towards winter, biological monitoring at terrestrial sites is scaled down, though we continue to record carabid beetles and spiders. At freshwater sites we make a limited set of measurements from November until February.

See all this month's field measurements...

Troutbeck in November. Photo © CEH