Desmids are highly diverse unicellular green algae that are primary producers in fresh water ecosystems (Coesel 1996), are consumed by microfauna (Brook & Ells 1987), and can serve as biological indicators of the biological health of fresh water bodies (Coesel 1992). Desmids are cosmopolitan microorganisms of tropical to arctic water bodies (Brook & Williamson 1983; Da Graca & De Moraes 1996). They occur as euplankton, tychoplankton, and periphyton. Coesel (1987, 1992) documented some desmids in Colombian paramos lakes. A preliminary account of this study was published in Spanish (Gonzalez-Gonzalez & Mora-Osejo 1996). This taxonomic study documents desmid genera, species, and subspecies found in 17 alpine lakes in Colombia and establishes a basis for further evaluation of highland aquatic ecosystems in South America.

Some desmids and other microalgae present in the highland aquatic ecosystems

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References and additional reading

  • Brook A.J. & Ells W. 1987. The feeding of amoebae on desmids. Microscopy 35: 537-540.

  • Brook A.J. & Williamson D.B. 1983. Desmids from some lakes on Signy Island, South-Orkney Islands, Antarctica. Br. Antarct. Surv. Bull., 61: 59-70.

  • Coesel P.F.M. 1987. Taxonomic notes on Colombian desmids.Cryptogamie Algology 8: 127-142.

  • Coesel P.F.M. 1992. Desmids assemblies along altitude gradients in Colombia. Nova Hedwigia 55:353-366.

  • Coesel P.F.M. 1996. Biogeography of desmids. Hydrobiologia 336: 41-53.

  • Da Graca S. & De Moraes V.L. 1996. Planktonic desmids of three Amazonian systems (Lake Batata, Lake Massura and Trombetas River) Para, Brazil. Amazoniana, 14: 75-90.

  • Gonzalez-Gonzalez L.E. & Mora-Osejo L.E. 1996. Desmids from paramo lakes in Colombia.Caldasia 18:165-202 (In Spanish).

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