Three year research project funded by the Water Research Commission of South Africa entitled: The development and application of Periphyton as Indicators of flow and nutrient alterations for the management of water resources in South Africa. Objectives were to:
1. Expand existing knowledge of temporal patterns in periphyton community structure in a winter rainfall region to understanding periphyton community structure and the key environmental drivers of these patterns in a summer rainfall region of the country
2. Provide the information necessary for setting preliminary thresholds of trophic status as a guideline for future evaluations and monitoring of river condition throughout South Africa.
The project involved the collection of numerous field samples of algae and periphyton, water quality/chemistry as well as water temperature data from sites in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. Algae were sampled using a traditional sampling methods as well as a novel new instrument called the BenthoTorch. Laboratory work included the assessment of periphyton biomass and the identification of algal taxa under the microscope. The project involved extensive data analysis, statistical modelling, GIS mapping, interpretation and the dissemination of information in the form of published WRC report and several steering committee meeting presentations.