Distribution of the Diatoms and Water Quality Assessment of the Thamirabarani River, Tamil Nadu, South India

  • Madhu Madhankumar
  • Raju Venkatachalapathy
Keywords: Diatoms, Thamirabarani River, Water quality, Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscopy (FESEM), India, Light Microscopy


The diatoms are one of the most significant organisms beneficial for biomonitoring investigations. The present study deals with the diatom and water samples collected from 10 different localities in the Thamirabarani River, Southern India. Diatom samples were collected by scraping stones with a toothbrush and squeezing macrophytes. Study of diatom valve morphology and measurements of diatoms were carried out using an optical miccroscope. The present study recorded 58 diatom taxa belonging to 25 genera. Among the diatoms, the taxonomical characters of 20 abundant diatom taxa viz. Aulacoseira granulata, Discostella stelligera, Navicula cryptocephala, Encyonema minutum, Gomphonema gandhii, Eunotia asterionelloides, Gomphonema parvulum, Brachysira neglectissima, Aulacoseira ambigua, Diadesmis confervacea, Nitzschia palea, Nitzschia amphibia, Sellaphora Americana, Staurosirella pinnata, Gomphonema affine, Fragilaria pararumpens, Eunotia incisa, Navicula erifuga, Navicula cryptotenella and Navicula rostellata are described and illustrated. In the present study abundant diatom genera were observed such as Aulacoseira, Discostella, Navicula, Encyonema, Gomphonema, Brachysira, Nitzschia, Sellaphora, Staurosirella, Fragilaria and Euno- tia. In abundant diatom taxa such as Aulacoseira granulate, Discostella stelligera, Gomphonema gandhii, Fragilaria pararumpens, Navicula cryptocephala, Navicula rostellata, Staurosirella pinnata water quality index values between 21-42 were recorded at Sites 1-9, which indicates unpolluted water. The abundant diatom taxa Diadesmis confervacea, Nitzschia palea, and Gomphonema parvulum were present at Site 10 and a water quality index value of 101 was recorded, indicating water polluted due to anthropogenic activity. The diatom assemblage of the present study was compared with various river systems to understand the environmental condition assessment. The water samples were analysed for assessment of the water quality.    

Author Biographies

Madhu Madhankumar
Department of Geology, Periyar University, Salem-636 011, Tamil Nadu, India
Raju Venkatachalapathy
Department of Geology, Periyar University, Salem-636 011, Tamil Nadu, India


1. Acs, E., Szabo, K., Kiss, A.K., Tooth, B., Zaray, G.Y, & Kiss K.T. (2006). Investigation of epilithic algae on the River Danube from Germany to Hungary and the effect of a very dry year on the algae of the River Danube. Large Rivers. 16(03), 389-417. DOI: 10.1127/ lr/16/2006/389.
2. Amutha, M., Muralidharan, M. (2017). Diatom community structure along physicochemical gradients in upland river segments of Thamiraparani river system South India. International Journal of Aquatic Biology, 5(1), 12-21. https://doi.org/10.22034/ijab. v5i1.224.
3. Bishop, I.W., Esposito, R.M., Tyree, M., Spaulding, S.A. (2017). A diatom voucher flora from selected south- east rivers. Phytotaxa 332(2), 101–140. http://dx.doi. org/10.11646/phytotaxa. 332.2.1.
4. Camburn, K.E., Charles, D.F. (2000). Diatoms of low alkalinity lakes in the northeastern United States The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, Philadelphia. Special Publication, 18.
5. Chawla, A., Patel, D. (2020). Different types of Diatoms Seen in the River Narmada in India. Indian Journal of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology, 14(4).
6. Chen, X., Zhou, W., Pickett, S.T.A., Li, W., Han, L., Ren, Y. (2016). Diatoms are better indicators of urban stream conditions: A case study in Beijing China. Ecol. Indic, 60, 265-274. https://doi.org/10.1016/j. ecolind.2015.06.039.
7. Cude, C.G. (2001). Oregon water quality index a tool for evaluating water quality management effectiveness. J Am Water Resour Assoc, 37(1), 125-137.
8. Ehrlich, A. (1995). Atlas of the inland – water diatom flora of Israel; Flora Palaestina .The Geological-Survey of Israel .The Israel Academy of Sciences and Human- ities, Israel, 166.
9. Faustino, S.B., Fontana, L., Bartozek, E.C.R., Bicudo, C.E.D.M., Bicudo, D.D.C. (2016). Composition and distribution of diatom assemblages from core and surface sediments of a water supply reservoir in South- eastern Brazil. Biota Neotropica, 16(2).
10. Foged, N. (1980). Diatoms in Egypt. Nova Hedwigia, 33, 629-707.
11. Gosselain, V., Coste, M., Campeau, S., Ector, L., Fauville, C., Delmas, F., Descy, J.P. (2005). A large-scale stream benthic diatom database. Hydrobiologia, 542, 151- 163. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10750-004-7423-1.
12. Gregory, W. (1854). Notice of the new forms and varieties of known forms occurring in the diatomaceous earth of Mull; with remarks on the classification of the Diato- maceae. Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science, 2, 90-100.
13. Grover, S., Srivastava, P., Verma, J., Khan, A.S. (2017). Eco-Taxonomical Studies on diatoms from The Chambal River (Central India). Plant Archives, 17(2), 1517- 1532.
14. Grunow, A. (1862). Die österreichischen diatomaceen nebst Anschluss einiger neuen Arten von andern Lokalitäten und einer kritischen Uebersicht (In German) der bisher bekannten Gattungen und Arten, Verhandlungen der kaiserlich-königlichen zoologisch-bota- nischen Gesellschaft in Wien, 12, 315-472, 545-588. DOI:https://doi.org/10.5962/bhl.title.64361.
15. Gupta, R.K., Das, S.K. (2020). Algae of India A checklist of Indian Diatoms. Botanical survey of India, 4, 7-3.
16. Hanh, P.T.M., Sthiannopkao, S., Ba, D.T., Kim, K.W. (2011). Development of Water Quality Indexes to iden- tify pollutants in Vietnam’s surface water. J Environ Eng, 137(4), 273-283. https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE) EE. 1943-7870.0000314.
17. Harding Jr, L.W., Adolf, J.E., Mallonee, M.E., Miller, W.D., Gallegos, C.L., Perry, E.S., Johnson, J.M., Sellner, K.G., Paerl, H.W. (2015). Climate effects on phy- toplankton floral composition in Chesapeake Bay. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 1-16. http://dx.doi. org/10.1016/j.ecss.2014.12.030 0272-7714.
18. Houk, V., Klee, R., Tanaka, H. (2010). Atlas of freshwater centric diatoms with a brief key and descriptions PartIII Stephanodiscaceae A Cyclotella Tertiarius Dis- cotella Fottea 10(Supplement).
19. Hustedt, F. (1952a). Neue und wenig bekannte Diatomeen III Phylogenetische Variationen bei den raphidioiden Diatomeen-Ber. Deutsch. Bot Ges, 65, 133–145.
20. Ivanov, P., Kirilova, E., Ector, L. (2006). Diatom species composition from the River Iskar in the Sofia region Bulgaria. Advances in Phycological Studies. 167-190.
21. Karthick, B., Hamilton, P.B., Kociolek, J.P. (2013). An Illustrated Guide to Common Diatoms of Peninsular India. Gubbi Labs, Gubbi, 206.
22. Karthick, B., Kociolek, J.P., Mahesh, M.K., Ramachandra, T.V. (2011). The diatom genus Gomphonema Ehrenberg in India: Checklist and description of three new species. Nova Hedwigia, 93(1), 211-236. DOI: 10.1127/0029-5035/2011/0093-0211.
23. Karthikeyan, P., Venkatachalapathy, R. (2016). Relationship between Diatom Indices and water quality Index in environmental conditions of Cauvery River in parts of Tamil Nadu India. Indian Journal of Geo-Marine Science, 45(8), 987-998.
24. Karthikeyan, P., Venkatachalapathy, R., Vennila, G. (2018). Using of biological diatom Indices (IBD) for ecologi- cal states of the Cauvery river India. Indian Journal of Geo Marine Sciences, 47(2), 426-436.
25. Kobayasi, H., Nozawa, M. (1981). Fine structure of fresh water centric diatom Aulacoseira ambigua (Grunow) Simonsen. Japanese Journal of Phycolo- gy, 29, 121-128.
26. Krammer, K. (1997a). Die cymbelloiden Diatomeen Eine Monographie der weltweit bekannten Taxa Teil 1. All- gemeines and Encyonema Bibliotheca Diatomologica, 36:1-382.
27. Krammer, K., Lange-Bertalot, H. (1985). Naviculaceae Neue und wenig bekannte Taxa neue Kombinationen und Synonyme sowie Bemerkungen zu einigen Gat- tungen Bibliotheca Diatomologica, 9:5-230, 43.
28. Krammer, K., Lange-Bertalot, H. (1986). Bacillariophyceae. Teil 1. Naviculaceae In Ettl H, Gerloff J, Heinig H & Mollrnhauer (eds) Süβwasserflora von Mitteleuropa 2/1. Gustav Fischer Verlag Jena, 876.
29. Krammer, K., Lange-Bertalot, H. (1988). Bacillariophyceae 2 Teil Bacillariaceae epithemiaceae Surirellaceae In Ettl H, Gerloff J, Heynig H & Mollenhauer D(eds) Susswasserflora von Mitteleuropa Band, Gustav Fish- er Verlag Jena, 2/2, 1-596.
30. Krammer, K., Lange-Bertalot, H. (1991). Bacillariophyce- ae 3 Teil: Centrales Fragilariaceae Eunotiaceae In Ettl, H, Gerloff J, Heynig H & Mollenhauer D(Eds) Süss- wasserflora von Mitteleuropa Gustav Fisher Verlag Stuttgart Germany, 2(3), 1-576.
31. Krammer, K., Lange-Bertalot, H. (1991a). Bacillariophyceae 3 Teil: Centrales Fragilariaceae Eunotiaceae In: Suswasserflora von Mitteleuropa (Ed By Ettl, H, Gerloff J, Heynıg H, Mollenhauer D, G. Fischer Verlag. Stuttgart & New York.
32. Krammer, K., Lange-Bertalot, H. (2004). Bacillariophyceae 3 Centrales Fragilariaceae Eunotiaceae In Süßwas- serflora von Mitteleuropa Heidelberg Spektrum Aka- demischer Verlag, 2/3, 1-599.
33. Kulikovskiy, M.S., Glushchenko, A.M., Kuznetsova, I.V., Genkal, S.I. (2016). Identification book of diatoms from Russia. Yaroslavl, Filigran, ISBN: 978-5- 906682-72-7.
34. Kumar, A.S. (2015). Studies on Diversity and Abundance of Fresh Water Diatoms as Indicator of Water Quality in Glacial Goriganga River India. International Re- search Journal of Environment Sciences, 4(4), 80-875.
35. Kützing, F.T. (1844). Die Kieselschaligen Bacillarien oder diatomeen.1-7, (1)-152, 1-30.
36. Lange-Bertalot, H. (2001). Navicula sensu stricto 10 Gen- era Separated from Navicula sensu lato Frustulia In H Lange- Bertalot (Ed) Diatoms of Europe 2, Diatoms of the European inland waters and comparable habitats. ARG Gartner Verlag. KG, Vaduz, 2, 526.
37. Lange-Bertalot, H., Hofmann, G., Werum, M., Cantonati, M. (2017). Freshwater Benthic Diatoms of Central Eu- rope: Over 800 Common Species Used in Ecological Assessment, Schmitten-Oberreifenberg, Germany. Koeltz Botanical Books, 942.
38. Levkov, Z., Mitic-Kopanja, D., Reichardt, E. (2016). In Lange-Bertalot H (ed) the diatom genus Gomphonema in the Republic of Macedonia. Diatoms of Europe. Diatoms of the European inland waters and comparable habitats. Oberreifenberg Koeltz Botanical Books, 8, 1-552.
39. Maishale, D.P., Ulavi, S. (2015). Bacillariophyceae as Indictors of Ecological Status in Kabini River. Interna- tional Journal of Science Technology & Engineering, 2(2), ISSN:2349-784X, 76-82.
40. Mann, D.G. (1989). The diatom genus Sellaphora: Separation from Navicula. British Phycological Journal, 24(1), 1-20.
41. Mitra, P., Reddy, P.B. (2015). Annual dynamics of diatoms in the Shivna River at Mandsaur (MP India) in relation to pollution. European Journal of Pharmaceutical and Medical Research, 2(7), 230-235.
42. Morin, S., Gomez, N., Tornes, E., Licursi, M., Rosebery, J. (2016). Benthic Diatom Monitoring and Assessment of Freshwater Environments: Standard Methods and Future Challenges. Aquat. Biofilms Ecol. Water Qual. Wastewater Treat, 111-124.
43. Nardellia, M.S., Buenoa, N.C.., Ludwig, T.A.V., Guim- araesa, A.T.B. (2016). Structure and dynamics of the planktonic diatom community in the Iguassu River Parana State Brazil. Brazilian Journal of Biology, 76(2), 374-386. https://doi.org/10.1590/1519-6984.16114.
44. Nautiyal, R., Nautiyal, P. (1999). Spatial Distribution of Diatom Flora in Damodar River System. In The Fourth Indian Fisheries Forum: Proceedings, 24-28, 17-22.
45. Pareek, R.K., Khan, A.S., Srivastva, P., Roy, S., Grover, S. (2018). Ecological Assessment of Ghaggar River with Diatoms. Plant Archives, 18(1), 1074-1080. ISSN 0972-5210.
46. Patrick, R.M., Reimer, C.W. (1966). The Diatoms of the United States exclusive of Alaska and Hawaii. Monographs of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Phila- delphia, 13, 1.
47. Rai, S.K. (2006). Taxonomic studies on some freshwater diatoms from the Eastern Tarai Region Nepal. Our Nature, 4(1), 10-19. http://doi.org/10.3126/on.v4il.498.
48. Rai, S.K., Khadka, S. (2017). Diatoms of Bagmati River Kathmandu Nepal. Nepalese Journal of Biosciences 7(1), 1-25. https://doi.org/10.3126/njbs.v7i1.41754.
49. Ravikumar, P., Aneesul Mehmood, M., Somashekar, R.K. (2013). Water quality index to determine the surface water quality of Sankey tank and Mallathahalli lake, Bangalore urban district, Karnataka, India. Applied Water Science, 3(1), 247-261. DOI:10.1007/s13201- 013-0077-2.
50. Rimet, F. (2012). Recent views on river pollution and di- atoms. Hydrobiogia, 683(1), 1-24. DOI :10.1007/ s10750-011-0949-0.
51. Schonfelder, I., Gelbrecht, J., Schönfelder, J., Steinberg, C.E. (2002). Relationships between littoral diatoms and their chemical environmental in northeastern Ger- man lakes and rivers. Journal of Phycology, 38(1), 66- 89. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1529-8817.2002.01056.x.
52. Sharma, P., Meher, P.K., Kumar, A., Gautam, Y.P., Mishra, K.P. (2014). Changes in water quality index of Ganges River at different locations in Allahabad. Sustainabili- ty of Water Quality and Ecology, 3, 67-76. https://doi. org/10.1016/j.swaqe.2014.10.002.
53. Solak, C.N., Kulikovski, M., Kiss, T.K., Kaleli, M.A., Kociolek, J.P., Ács, E. (2018). The distribution of centric diatoms in different river catchments in the Anatolian Peninsula Turkey. Turkish Journal of Botany, 42(1), 100-122. https://doi.org/10.3906/bot-1703-23.
54. Solak, C.N., Peszek, L., Yilmaz, E., Ergul, H.A., Kayal, M., Ekmekci, F., Varbiro, G., Yuce, A.M., Canli, O., Binici, M.S., Acs, E. (2020). Use of Diatoms in Monitoring the Sakarya River Basin Turkey. Water, 12(3), 703. http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/w 12030703.
55. Spaulding, S., Edlund, M. (2008). Psammothidium. In Diatoms of North America. http://diatoms.org/genera/ Psammothidium.
56. Stoermer, E.F., Ja Smol, J.P. (1999). Applications and uses of diatoms: prologue In The diatoms; applications for the environmental and earth sciences. Cambridge University Press Cambridge, 3-8.
57. Taylor, J.C., Harding, W.R., Archibald, C.G.M. (2007). An illustrated guide to some common diatom species from South Africa. Pretoria: Water research commission, 1-178. ISBN 1-77005-484-7.
58. Unni, K.S., Pawar, S. (2000). The phytoplankton along a pollution gradient in the Mahanadi River (M.P state) India-a multivariate approach. Hydrobiologia, 430(1), 87–96. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1004025231206.
59. Venkatachalapathy, R., Karthikeyan., P. (2015). Diatom In- dices and Water Quality Index of the Cauvery River India: Implications on the Suitability of Bio-Indicators for Environmental Impact Assessment. In Environmental Management of River Basin Ecosystems, 707- 727. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-13425-3_31
60. Wetzel, C.E., Ector, L., Hoffmann, L., Bicudo, D.D.C. (2010). Colonial planktonic Eunotia (Bacillariophyceae) from Brazilian Amazon: Taxonomy and bio- geographical considerations on the E asterionelloides species complex, Nova Hedwigia, 91(1), 49-86. DOI: 10.1127/0029-5035/2010/0091-0049.
How to Cite
Madhankumar, M., & Venkatachalapathy, R. (2023). Distribution of the Diatoms and Water Quality Assessment of the Thamirabarani River, Tamil Nadu, South India. Journal of Geology, Geography and Geoecology, 32(1), 124-137. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.15421/112313