Periphyton composition and diversity in the Kaunas Lagoon and the Nemunas River
Periphyton is a biological layer found in various substrata in natural waters and consists of bacteria, algae, fungi, protozoa, and small metazoans. It plays an important role in trophic and functional dynamics in freshwater ecosystems.
The Kaunas Lagoon and the Nemunas River are among important freshwater ecosystems in Lithuania. However, little is known about periphytic communities in these freshwater habitats. The aim of this investigation was to determine the taxonomic composition and diversity of periphytic organisms in the Kaunas Lagoon and the Nemunas River.
Periphyton samples were collected from the stones at regular intervals to compare periphytonic community structure and to examine its temporal changes. Totally, 28 taxa of periphyton were collected and identified. Most of the taxa belonged to Bacillariophyta. In all locations the dominant species were diatoms Navicula lanceolata, Craticula cuspidata, Amphora ovale. Seasonal assessment of the distribution of periphyton shows that in both water bodies more organisms were found in late summer. The seasonal succession of the periphyton community was more significant in the Nemunas River.