Recommendations for the routine sampling of diatoms for water quality assessments in Europe

M. G. Kelly, A. Cazaubon, E. Coring, A. Dell'Uomo, L. Ector, B. Goldsmith, H. Guasch, J. Hurlimann, A. Jarlman, B. Kawecka, J. Kwandrans, R. Laugaste, E. A. Lindstrom, M. Leitao, P. Marvan, J. Padisaka, E. Pipp, J. Prygiel, E. Rott, S. SabaterH. Van Dam, J. Vizinet

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344 Citations (Scopus)


Many methods for using diatoms for routine monitoring of water quality have been developed in Europe and in some countries, these are being used to enforce environmental legislation. In order to facilitate their wider use, particularly with respect to European Union legislation, steps are being taken to harmonize methodology. In this paper, the principles and practice of sampling are described in relation to the main habitat types encountered in Europe. Although details of methods and sampling programmes have to be tailored to particular circumstances and the overall objectives of the monitoring, a number of generalizations can be made. Where available, rocks and other hard surfaces are the preferred substrates and methods for sampling these are described. If such substrata are not available then introduced ('artificial') substrata have many applications. Various types of introduced substrata can be used successfully, so long as some basic precautions are described. Other types of substrata such as macrophytes and macroalgae may also be useful under certain circumstances, although there is less consensus in the literature on the most appropriate methods, and of the validity of comparisons between indices computed from epiphytic and epilithic communities. When designing surveys, it is recommended that as far as possible, extremes of non-water quality factors (e.g. shade, current speed, etc) are avoided, unless these are characteristic of the system under investigation. Detailed guidelines for sampling epilithon are described. Along with the recommendations for sampling other substrata, it is hoped that these provide a framework that can be adapted to most river types in Europe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-224
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Phycology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1998


  • Bacillariophyta
  • Diatoms
  • Monitoring
  • Periphyton
  • Rivers
  • Sampling
  • Water quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Plant Science

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    Kelly, M. G., Cazaubon, A., Coring, E., Dell'Uomo, A., Ector, L., Goldsmith, B., Guasch, H., Hurlimann, J., Jarlman, A., Kawecka, B., Kwandrans, J., Laugaste, R., Lindstrom, E. A., Leitao, M., Marvan, P., Padisaka, J., Pipp, E., Prygiel, J., Rott, E., ... Vizinet, J. (1998). Recommendations for the routine sampling of diatoms for water quality assessments in Europe. Journal of Applied Phycology, 10(2), 215-224.