Using Benthic Diatoms as a Bioindicator to Assess Rural-urban River Conditions in Tropical Area: A Case Study in the Sai Gon River, Vietnam

Document Type: Original Research Paper


Sustainable Management of Natural Resources and Environment Research Group, Faculty of Environment and Labour Safety, Ton Duc Thang University, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


The changes in diatom assemblages along an urban-to-rural gradient were characterized to assess the ecological status of the Sai Gon River, Vietnam. Diatoms and physico-chemical variables were measured at 10 stations during dry and rainy season. One-way ANOVA showed that diatom metrics and physicochemical variables were significantly different (p < 0.05) between the upper course sites and both the middle- and the lower sites. However, no significant differences were observed between the middle course sites and the lower course sites. Achnanthidium minutissimum and A. exigua were potential indicators of low nutrient in the upper course sites; Melosira granulata and Navicula viridula were preferred moderately eutrophic water in the middle course sites; while Navicula cryptocephala and Nitzschia palea were tolerant to very heavy pollution and dominant in the lower course sites. Canonical correlation analysis (CCA) results showed that concentration of TSS, TN, TP, BOD5 and COD were the most important factors in structuring benthic diatom communities in the Sai Gon River. The results of this study indicated that diatom community was sensitive to changes in urban condition and could be used as an indicator of urbanization.


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