Algal assemblages in springs of different lithologies (ophiolites vs. limestone) of the Konjuh Mountain (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Jasmina Kamberovic, Andelka Plenkovic-Moraj, Koraljka Kralj Borojevic, Marija Gligora Udovic, Petar Zutinic, Dubravka Hafner, Marco Cantonati


The biodiversity of algal communities and environmental conditions were investigated in the springs of Mt. Konjuh. The assemblages of 20 springs emerging from different lithologies (limestones and ophiolites, respectively)
comprised 234 algal taxa. Diatoms and cyanobacteria were the most species-rich groups. The most common alkaliphilic, circumneutral, and eutraphentic diatoms were represented by the genera Gomphonema, Nitzschia, Navicula, Cymbella, and Achnanthidium, and by the cyanobacterial genus Phormidium. Hierarchical clustering and SIMPROF analysis based on relative algal abundance clustered springs into six groups, separating them mainly according to spring type and lithology. Indicator species for groups and springs on different lithological substrata were singled out, revealing 33 taxa with preferences for ophiolites, and 20 taxa with preferences for carbonates. The values of the Shannon-Wiener diversity index were moderately high per spring location, and similar for the two groups of springs on different lithologies. A higher similarity in species composition was noted between springs on ophiolites and limestones than between springs on ophiolites and other types of siliceous substrata. The present study suggests that algal assemblages in springs emerging from ophiolites, even those made up by a preponderance of silicates, should be analyzed separately from those related to springs on other siliceous substrata. The results obtained showed that most of the springs studied are affected by anthropogenic impacts and morphological alterations leading to the dominance of highly competitive meso- and eutraphentic algal species, thus emphasizing the importance of further investigation and conservation of these habitats.


biodiversity, diatoms, cyanobacteria, springs, geological substratum, ecological preferences, trophic status

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