Quantification of diatoms in biofilms: Standardisation of methods
MetadataShow full item record
Benthic diatoms, which often dominate marine biofilms are mostly pennate along with a few centric species that have an attached mode of life. Even though the range of diatoms in biofilms is diverse, their ecology is poorly understood because of the difficulty in sampling and enumeration. Scraping or brushing are the traditional methods used for removal of diatoms from biofilms developed on solid substrata. The method of removal is the most critical step in enumerating the biofilm diatom community structure. In this study, a nylon brush and ceramic scraper were used as tools for the removal of diatoms from 1-4-day-old biofilms developed on fibreglass coupons and glass microscope slides. Standardisation of methods showed that the sample volume used in the analyses had the least influence on the quantification, whereas the method of removal was critical. The nylon brush was more efficient at recovering diatoms compared to a ceramic scraper. Direct microscopic enumeration of the community in the case of glass slides indicated that scraping resulted in between 30-50% underestimation. Heterogeneity in diatom community structure between replicate samples is one possible reason for such underestimation.
- Scholarly literature