, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 357–368 | Cite as

Estimating the Importance of Aquatic Primary Productivity for Phosphorus Retention in Florida Everglades Mesocosms

  • Darryl E. Marois
  • William J. Mitsch
  • Keunyea Song
  • Shili Miao
  • Li Zhang
  • Chung T. Nguyen
Original Research


Constructed wetlands are being utilized to mitigate the impact that excess phosphorus in surface water has on the natural state of the Florida Everglades. This study investigates the role of aquatic metabolism in the retention of phosphorus in wetlands and how it varies with plant community. Eighteen 6-m2 mesocosms receiving inflows with relatively low phosphorus concentrations were planted with one of five wetland plant communities or left to natural colonization. In 2012, the mesocosms left to naturally colonize had significantly higher aquatic gross primary production (GPP) at 7.0 g O2 m−2 d−1 than all other communities. Mesocosms planted with Nymphaea odorata and those planted with a mix of Najas guadalupensis and Chara sp. had significantly higher GPP (5.5 and 5.9 g O2 m−2 d−1, respectively) than those with Typha domingensis, Eleocharis cellulosa, and Cladium jamaicense (1.7, 2.3, and 1.5 g O2 m−2 d−1, respectively). Rates of phosphorus cycling due to aquatic metabolism were estimated to range from 2.5 g P m−2 yr−1 in both the Cladium and Eleocharis communities to 7.7 g P m−2 yr−1in the naturally colonized mesocosms. These results provide evidence that wetland plant communities without high-biomass emergent macrophytes may perform best in the retention of phosphorus in low inflow concentration conditions.


Wetlands Florida Everglades Phosphorus retention Aquatic metabolism Water quality Ecosystem services Phosphorus coprecipitation 



This study was supported by the South Florida Water Management District contract 4600001988 to The Ohio State University and continued by PO 4500070343 to Florida Gulf Coast University. The authors thank Evan Waletzko and DB Environmental for help with sampling and sample processing, Bob Johnson for designing the mesocosms’ hydraulic system, and the staff at the SFWMD laboratories for their help with lab processing and analysis.


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Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Darryl E. Marois
    • 1
    • 2
  • William J. Mitsch
    • 1
    • 2
  • Keunyea Song
    • 3
  • Shili Miao
    • 4
  • Li Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Chung T. Nguyen
    • 2
    • 5
  1. 1.School of Environment and Natural ResourcesThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Everglades Wetland Research ParkFlorida Gulf Coast UniversityNaplesUSA
  3. 3.School of Natural ResourcesUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA
  4. 4.South Florida Water Management DistrictWest Palm BeachUSA
  5. 5.Department of Environmental BiotechnologyNong Lam UniversityHo Chi Minh CityVietnam

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