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Diatom Flora of the Salton Sea

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Open Sea


Plankton Flora





Chaetoceros spore





Pleurosigma ambrosianum





General View Plankton


Plankton Flora

Living planktonic diatoms are found in mid-lake water. They provide food for zooplankton and fish. A seasonal succession of the planktonic diatom flora is evident, with Thalassionema nitzschioides, Cyclotella spp. and Chaetoceros muelleri dominating the summer assemblage and Pleurosigma ambrosianum and Cyclotella spp. being abundant in the winter. When mixing is heavy, as during strong wind storms, diatoms which are usually associated with other habitats (benthic, epiphytic) get mixed into the plankton. Such is the case for small benthic diatoms such as Tryblionella punctata and Nitzschia frustulum which are very abundant in plankton samples during the winter. Almost any diatom living in the Salton Sea can be found occasionally in the plankton. 

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