Does the Elemental Composition of Rock Surfaces Affect Marine Benthic Communities of Diatoms and Cyanobacteria?

Anastasiia Blaginina, Daria Balycheva, Ekaterina Miroshnichenko, Larisa Ryabushko, Sergey Kapranov, Sophia Barinova, Denis Lishaev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rocky seabeds, as an integral part of ecotopes in marine ecosystems, are actively inhabited by diatoms and cyanobacteria. It is currently unknown whether the element contents in the surface layer of seabed rocks affect the epilithon species composition and abundance in microphytobenthos communities in the sea. The results of this study on the rock surface element composition and correlation analysis of the element contents with the abundance of epilithon diatoms and cyanobacteria in three bays in Sevastopol (Black Sea) are presented. Ca, Fe, and Si were the major elements with the largest weight fraction in the rock surface layer. Using cluster analysis, the differentiation of samples in the content and distribution of these three elements was shown. In total, 63 taxa of diatoms and 20 species of cyanobacteria were found, with their abundance ranging from 14,000 to 17,6000 cells/cm2 and from 12,000 to 1,198,000 cells/cm2, respectively. In general, it was found that the elemental composition of the rock surface is not a decisive factor affecting the total abundance of the benthic diatom and cyanobacterial communities as no strong correlations with any element contents were observed. However, when analyzing the abundance of populations of certain largely non-dominant species, the majority of diatoms showed noticeable (r = 0.5–0.7) to very high (r = 0.9–0.99) correlations with Fe. The highest positive correlations were noted for the diatoms Bacillaria paxillifer and Navicula directa with Fe. For the cyanobacteria Chroococcus minutus, Pseudanabaena minima, and Spirulina subsalsa, strong positive correlations with Ca and negative correlations with Si were observed. The correlations with Fe were very strong and negative for Lyngbya confervoides and strong and positive for Kamptonema laetevirens and Phormidium holdenii.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1569
JournalJournal of Marine Science and Engineering
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • community
  • correlations
  • cyanobacteria
  • diatoms
  • elements
  • epilithon
  • rocks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering


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