Samples of epiphytic diatom assemblages found on prop roots of red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) from four sites were collected at two tidal levels of exposure on two different dates from the cool season (autumn, spring). The overall floristic analysis yielded 171 diatom taxa, including 16 new records for the Baja California peninsula. Diversity estimates were among the highest ever measured for benthic diatoms using Shannon's (mean H′ = 4.89) and Simpson's (0.945) indices. Many species scored high on the Biological Value Index (BVI), thus reflecting their numerical importance within the assemblages. According to diversity values and overall species composition, all sampling sites represented a similar habitat consisting of three types of substrates: prop roots, epiphytic macroalgae, and sediments. These values are considered to represent stability in the diatom assemblages living on red mangrove prop roots. Thus, the conditions determined by periodic tidal exposure are not to be considered extreme. However, principal component analysis and similarity measurements indicated that the November and April assemblages could be discriminated on the basis of taxa distribution.
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Vol. 59 • No. 1