Autecology of terrestrial diatoms under anthropic disturbance and across climate zones

Jasper Foets*, Jadwiga Stanek-Tarkowska, Adriaan J. Teuling, Bart Van de Vijver, Carlos E. Wetzel, Laurent Pfister

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Like aquatic diatoms, terrestrial diatoms are sensitive to multiple environmental factors such as pH, anthropic disturbances, soil moisture and nitrogen. While most aquatic diatom species have well-known autecological values for several important variables, qualifying them as biological indicators, this potential has not yet been untapped for terrestrial diatoms. Here, we aim to establish autecological values for pH and soil moisture content using weighted averaging for common, widespread terrestrial diatoms and compare them with previous calculated indicator values and tolerance ranges. In order to provide robust autecological values, we combined the data of ecological studies carried out across a range of climate conditions. We found that our validation metrics improved considerably after removing samples collected in anthropic disturbed habitats, suggesting that anthropic disturbance is the principal factor defining taxon occurrences. Besides our results showing similarities with previous studies, they also showed a significant improvement on the existing indicator values. Moreover, we expanded the list of terrestrial diatoms to 249 taxa that may serve as environmental markers in different research fields.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107248
JournalEcological Indicators
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Anthropogenic disturbance
  • Autecological values
  • Diatoms
  • Indicator
  • Soil

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Autecology of terrestrial diatoms under anthropic disturbance and across climate zones'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this