This flora represents the European species of the desmid genera Staurastrum and Staurodesmus. Contains reliable identification keys and general information on the morphology, taxonomy, ecology and geographical distribution. An invaluable tool for aquatic ecologists and water quality management.
The desmid genera Staurastrum and Staurodesmus are notorious for their confusing taxonomy and problematic species identification. To a large part this is due to a lack of reliable identification manuals. The present flora, dealing with the European species of these genera, aims to meet this need. As well as general information on the morphology and taxonomy of the genera, identification keys to the species are provided. The discussion of each species includes morphological characteristics, ecology and geographical distribution (also beyond Europe).
As compared to other desmid genera, a large part of the Staurastrum and Staurodesmus species have a euplanktonic way of life. Reliable identification and knowledge of their ecological demands is most important for the assessment of water quality. Many species have a confined geographical distribution, even within Europe. Monitoring their distribution patterns could give an insight into past and future climate change.