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The diatom flora of selected sites in the Animas River Watershed, San Juan County, Colorado, was studied. Eighty diatom taxa were identified from 10 sites: 8 sites on the Animas River and 1 site each on the Cement and Cascade tributaries. The sample diatom abundance was dominated by Achnanthidium minutissimum, Encyonema silesiacum, Aulacoseira distans, Hannaea arcus, and Diatoma mesodon. The presence of teratologic specimens of Fragilaria and Achnanthidium in the samples indicated the possibility of metals contamination. Diatom diversity was low and Lange-Bertalot pollution index scores indicated little organic pollution evidenced from diatom composition. There was evidence that diatom composition at the sites was differentially affected by pH and possibly by the concentrations of Zn alone or in combination with Cd, Cu, and Fe.


Sgro, G.V., Poole, J.B., Johansen, J.R. Diatom Species Composition and Ecology of the Animas River Watershed, Colorado, USA. Western North American Naturalist. 2007;67(4):510-519.

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