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American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology:
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0b013e318221b857
Original Articles

Numbers, Sizes, and Types of Diatoms Around Estuaries for a Diatom Test

Kakizaki, Eiji PhD*; Kozawa, Shuji MD, PhD*; Sakai, Masahiro PhD†; Yukawa, Nobuhiro MD, PhD*

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Abstract

We collected 68 fresh, brackish, and seawater samples from various sites around the estuaries of 2 rivers at high and low tides. Seawater flowed approximately 2.4 (salinity, 2.2% at the site) and 1.2 km (1.8%) upstream of the estuaries, but the surface comprised essentially fresh water up to the mouth. Sites contained 69 to 22,200 diatoms/50 mL of water, and the numbers varied by depth and at sites separated by only approximately 1.2 km. Diatoms ranged from 2.8 to 429 μm (mean range, 16.1-59.2 μm) in size. Large pennate diatoms populated fresh water areas, and most sedimented before reaching the sea. Numbers of pennate diatoms of less than 20 μm were decreased in areas of seawater. Numbers of centric diatoms tended to increase nearer the sea, and seawater contained large centric diatoms. Brackish water containing large volumes of seawater was easily discriminated by assemblages of marine diatoms, unlike that containing a little seawater, because marine diatoms could be found in fresh water around estuaries. Tides and the nature of the river often altered diatomaceous assemblages at the same estuarial sites. Caution is recommended for forensic interpretation of aqueous media to deduce drowning sites.

© 2011 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

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