Comparative analysis of algal biodiversity in the rivers of Israel

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Comparative analysis of algal communities in the rivers of Israel was completed to highlight the influence of environmental variables on biodiversity. The study revealed that 671 species of algae and cyanobacteria belonging to nine taxonomic divisions were present during 2002-2009 in the Yarqon, Alexander, Hadera, Qishon, Oren, Lower and Upper Jordan, and Zin rivers. The species richness of each river was evaluated by taxonomic structural comparison, geobotanical, hierarchical cluster analysis, and the degree of relatedness for different levels of taxonomic resolution. The analysis revealed close similarity of the Upper Jordan and Oren rivers. The average taxonomic distinctness index showed that the Yarqon, Oren, Upper Jordan, and Qishon communities were partly degraded due to permanent environmental disturbances. The variation in taxonomic distinctness index showed that the Alexander, Yarqon and Hadera communities were formed not only due to anthropogenic factors but also through long-term climatic impact. The most abundant indicator species inhabit low streaming and standing alkaline waters of medium salinity and low to medium organic pollution. The statistical approaches allowed discrimination between climatic and anthropogenic factors that impact upon the riverine biodiversity in semi-arid environments. Analysis shows the influence of anthropogenic factors was strongly modulated by climatic impacts causing a marked decease of species richness from north to south.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-259
Number of pages14
JournalCentral European Journal of Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2011


  • Algae
  • Distribution
  • Diversity
  • Israel
  • Phylogenetic diversity
  • Semi-arid climate
  • Statistical phylogeography
  • Taxonomic distinctness indices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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