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Tasmania, the Island state of Australia, is well known for its mountains, plateaus, ridges and valleys and its extensive river systems lakes and estuaries. The diatoms in the inland water bodies in this remnant of Gondwanaland have been investigated, yielding 130 genera and 450 species. The diatoms are described and illustrated with light and scanning electron microscopy. The distribution pattern and biogeography of the diatoms show the geological connectivity with the mainland as well as its relations with New Zealand, South Africa and South America.
The vast diversity of Gomphonema and Cymbelloid and monoraphid diatoms reflect the abundance of macrophytes in the water bodies. Eunotia and Pinnularia also display high diversity. Taxa such as Biremis and Amphora in the freshwater systems in this island highlight the adaptations of marine genera into fresh water. Eunophora and Actinella are found in high diversity in Tasmania, whereas they are very rare or extinct on the mainland.
Discovered by the Dutch in 1642 and occupied by the British in 1778, the landscape, the lakes and rivers have been extensively modified by the wide-spread hydroelectric projects, mining, timber industry, agriculture and urbanisation. Yet, some of the most pristine forests and lakes in the world are found in this island. This treatise presents not only the taxonomy and ecology of diatoms but also conveys a sense of place of their habitats through ample colour photographs.