The purpose of this study was to measure primary productivity of microphytobenthos of intertidal mudflats of Tagus estuary. Sampling occurred from 1991 to 1992, during low tide of spring waters on 2 stations, each one representative of a typical habitat. Net photosynthesis rates (NP) were measured in undisturbed sediment cores incubated in the laboratory andin situ. The results obtained indicated that NP in the laboratory was similar for the two stations, (mean values of 1.1 and 1.3 mmol O2 m−2 h−1, within a range of 5-fold). A stepwise regression analysis combining biotic and abiotic factors was performed to explain temporal variability, indicating that NP in each site was influenced by different parameters, with the exception of precipitation, which might play an important role in the disruption of sediment-water interface. Photosynthesis-Irradiance curves constructed with the results obtained insitu showed similar photophysiological responses of the two communities. Based on the values of photosynthetic efficiency (α), and of optimal light intensity (lk) measured and on the combination of the photoperiod pattern and the amount of light available for each sampling site, an estimation of total annual productivity is given: 47–178 g C m−2.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
AMORIM-FERREIRA, A., 1992. Estudo do efeito da herbivoria porHydrobia ulvae na biomassa das comunidades de microfitobentos do estuário do Tejo. Provas de aptidão pedagógica e capacidade científica. Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, 1–29.
ASMUS, R., 1982. Field measurements on seasonal variation of the activity of primary producers on a sandy tidal flat in the northern Wadden Sea. Neth. J. Sea Res., 16: 389–402.
BLANCHARD, G. F. and P. MONTAGNA, 1992. Photosynthetic response of natural assemblages of marine benthic microalgae to short- and long-term variations of incident irradiance in Baffin Bay, Texas. J. Phycol., 28: 7–14.
BROTAS, V., T. CABRITA, A. PORTUGAL, J. SERÔDIO and F. CATARINO, 1995. Spatio-temporal distribution of microphytobenthic biomass in tidal flats of the Tagus estuary (Portugal). Hydrobiologia, 300/301: 93–104
CAMMEN, L. M., 1991. Annual bacterial production in relation to benthic microalgal production and sediment oxygen uptake in an intertidal sandflat and an intertidal mudflat. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser., 71: 13–25.
COLIJN, F. and V. N. DE JONGE, 1984. Primary production of the microphytobenthos in the Ems-Dollard estuary. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser., 14: 185–196.
DAVIS, M. W. and C. D. McINTIRE, 1983. Effects of physical gradients on the dynamics of sediment-associated algae. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser., 13: 103–114.
EATON, J. W. and B. MOSS, 1966. The estimation of numbers and pigment content in epipelic algal populations. Limnol. Oceanogr., 11: 584–595.
GRANT, J., 1986. Sensivity of benthic community respiration and primary production to changes in temperature and light. Mar. Biol., 90: 299–306.
GRANT, J., U. V. BATHMANN and E. L. MILLS, 1986. The interaction between benthic diatom films and sediment transport. Estuar. coast. Shelf Sci., 23: 225–238.
HARGAVE, B.T., N. J. PROUSE, G. A. PHILIPS and P. A. NEAME, 1983. Primary production and respiration in pelagic and benthic communities at two intertidal sites in the upper Bay of Fundy. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci., Suppl. 40: 229–243.
HARRIS, G. P., 1980. The measurement of photosynthesis in natural populations of phytoplankton. In: I. Morris Ed., The physiological ecology of phytoplankton. Blackwell Scientific, Oxford: 129–185.
HOLMES, R. W. and B. E. MAHALL, 1982. Preliminary observations on the effects of flooding and desiccation upon the net photosynthetic rates of high intertidal estuarine sediments. Limnol. Oceanogr., 27: 954–958.
JASSBY, A.D. and T. PLATT 1976. Mathematical formulation of the relationship between photosynthesis and light for phytoplankton. Limnol. Oceanogr., 21: 540–547.
JOINT, I. R., 1978. Microbial production of an estuarine mudflat. Estuar. Coast. Mar. Sci., 7: 185–195.
LAMONTAGNE, I., A. CARDINAL and L. FORTIER, 1986. Intertidal microalgal production and the auxiliary energy of tides. Mar. Biol., 91: 409–419.
LORENZEN, C. J., 1967. Determination of chlorophyll and phaeopigments: spectrophotometric equations. Limnol. Oceanogr., 12: 343–346.
MORRISEY, D. J., 1988. Differences in effects of grazing by deposit-feedersHydrobia ulvae (Pennant) (Gastropoda: Prosobranchia) andCorophium arenarium Crawford (Amphipoda) on sediment microalgal populations. I. Qualitative differences. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol., 118: 33–42.
PINCKNEY, J. and R. G. ZINGMARK, 1991. Effects of tidal stage and sun angles on intertidal benthic microalgal productivity. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser., 76: 81–89.
PINCKNEY, J. and R. G. ZINGMARK, 1993a. Modeling the annual production of intertidal benthic microalgae in estuarine ecosystems. J. Phycol., 29: 396–407.
PINCKNEY, J. and R. G. ZINGMARK, 1993b. Photophysiological responses of intertidal benthic microalgal communities to in situ light environments: methodological considerations. Limnol. Oceanogr., 38: 1373–1383.
RIZNYK, R. Z., J. I. EDENS and R. C. LIBBY, 1978. Production of epibenthic diatoms in a southern California impounded estuary. J. Phycol., 14: 273–279.
SALDANHA, L., 1980. Estudo ambiental do Estuário do Tejo. Povoamentos bentónicos, peixes e ictioplancton do estuário do Tejo. Comissāo Nacional do Ambiente, Tejo n∘ 5 — rel 4. Lisboa.
SHAFFER, G. P., 1988. A comparison of benthic microfloral production on the West and Gulf coasts of the United States: an introduction to the dynamic K-systems model. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser., 43: 55–62.
SHAFFER, G. P., and P. CAHOON, 1987. Extracting information from ecological data containing high spatial and temporal variability: benthic microfloral production. Int. J. General Systems, 13: 107–123.
SULLIVAN, M. J. and C. A. MONCRIEFF, 1988. Primary production of edaphic algal communities in a Mississipi salt marsh. J. Phycol., 24: 49–58.
VALE, C. and B. SUNDBY, 1987. Suspended sediment fluctuations in the Tagus Estuary on semi-diurnal and fortnightly time scales. Estuar. Coast. Shelf Sci., 25: 495–508.
VAN ES, F. B., 1982. Community metabolism of intertidal flats in the Ems-Dollard estuary. Mar. Biol., 66: 95–108.
VAN RAALTE, C., I. VALIELA and J. M. TEAL, 1976. Production of epibenthic salt marsh algae: light and nutrient limitation. Limnol. Oceanogr., 21: 862–872.
VARELA, M. and E. PENAS, 1985. Primary production of benthic microalgae in an intertidal sand flat of the Ria de Arosa, NW Spain. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser., 25: 111–119.
About this article
Cite this article
Brotas, V., Catarino, F. Microphytobenthos primary production of Tagus estuary intertidal flats (Portugal). Netherlands Journal of Aquatic Ecology 29, 333–339 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02084232
- intertidal flats
- primary production
- P-I curves