Benthic diatoms are an indispensable link of the water ecological system in terms of energy flow and material cycling, and they directly or indirectly reflect the status of the water environment. We sampled benthic diatoms and environmental factors from April to May of 2013 from 53 sites along the Ying River to study their application in local water trophic status assessment, with a focus on the dominant benthic diatom species, their composition and distribution pattern, and the relationship between benthic diatoms and environmental factors. A total of 370 species and varieties were identified, belonging to 56 genera and six orders. The dominant species were as follows: Nitzschia inconspicua
Grunow, Achnanthidium minutissimum
(Kützing) Czarnecki, Navicula aitchelbee
L. L. Bahls, Nitzschia palea
(Kützing) Smith, Cyclotella meneghiniana
Kützing, Navicula submuralis
Hustedt and Mayamaea atomus
(Kützing) Lange-Bertalot. The Ying River was divided into five orders using the Strahler method and three regions according to total nitrogen, total phosphorus and ammonia nitrogen. In region Y-1, which had the lowest nutrient level, the dominant species was Achnanthidium minutissimum
. In region Y-2, which had the highest nutrient level, Navicula aitchelbee
, Nitzschia palea,
and Cyclotella meneghiniana
were dominant, while in region Y-3, which had moderate nutrient levels, Nitzschia inconspicua
was dominant. Pearson’s correlation analysis and canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) revealed a significant correlation between the environmental factors with dominant species and diatom indices (especially the SPI). Our study indicates that dominant species and diatom indices can, to some extent, indicate the environment, especially nutrient distribution.
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