Environmental Factors Structuring Diatom Diversity of the Protected High Mountain Lakes in the Kaçkar Mountains National Park (Rize, Turkey)

Bülent Şahin, Sophia Barinova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The altitude of the habitat is one of the important regulators of species survival. Kaçkar Mountains National Park is located in the Eastern Black Sea region of Turkey. This is the first study on the benthic diatom flora of the high mountain lakes in Kaçkar Mountains National Park, which is situated between 2782 and 3075 m a.s.l. A total of 84 diatom species were identified from benthic communities of 15 habitats in summer (19 July, 28 August) and autumn (10 September) months of 2020. The genus Pinnularia (thirteen species) formed the basis of the taxonomic list, followed by Eunotia (five species), Navicula (five species), and Frustulia (four species) genera, respectively. The waters in all the studied lakes were fresh, low-saline, with low-alkaline or circumneutral pH and organically uncontaminated, as evidenced by prevailed bioindicator groups. Statistical methods and comparative floristic results confirm the role of the lake altitude for the diatom species distribution. The species richness of the studied lakes was higher in lakes with lower altitudes. The statistical approach also revealed the potential for an increase in the number of species in high mountain lakes if the study of the diatom flora of the Kachkar Mountains National Park is continued and the species composition of the lakes is replenished. Further studies will be needed to continue exploring this pattern. To protect studied high mountain lakes, their ecological conditions must be constantly monitored in the Kaçkar Mountains National Park.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-341
Number of pages30
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 by the authors.


  • benthic habitats
  • bioindicator
  • diatoms
  • environmental factors
  • high mountain lakes
  • Kaçkar Mountains National Park
  • threatened and rare species
  • Turkey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Ecology


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