Phytoplankton: Relationships Between Phytoplankton, Nutrients, Oxygen Flux and Secondary Producers

  • Kevin G. Sellner
  • Michael E. Kachur
Part of the Lecture Notes on Coastal and Estuarine Studies book series (COASTAL, volume 23)

Abstract

In an intensive multi-component eight-year study (1974–1981) of mesohaline waters along the shallow western shore of Chesapeake Bay, phytoplankton species composition, productivity and pigment concentrations were routinely determined in monthly sample collections. In general, small, flagellated cells dominated total cell densities in the summer months while centric diatoms dominated assemblages in the winter, spring and fall. Highest phytoplankton densities, ≥53 × 106 cells·L−1, were observed in the spring bloom in bottom waters. Highest chlorophyll concentrations were observed during peaks of biomass-dominant cells, i.e., diatoms or dinoflagellates, rather than during periods of nanoflagellate dominance. Primary productivity was highest in the summer, ranging from 1.37 to 2.75 gC·m−2·d−1 and generally coincided with high dinoflagellate densities. Annual rates ranged from 167 to 392 gC·m−2. Nutrient concentrations and elemental ratios suggest occasional nutrient limitation of phytoplankton production in the region, with a limited phosphorus data set suggesting P-limitation in spring. Nitrogen limitation was possible in approximately one-half of the summer and early fall months sampled (13 of 24). However, regenerated nitrogen could supply rapid and frequent pulses of dissolved inorganic nitrogen throughout the summer and fall. A significant inverse relationship, observed between changes in silicate concentrations and fluctuations in diatom densities throughout the study period, suggests that silicate limitation may occasionally lead to the collapse of the spring bloom in mesohaline waters of Chesapeake Bay. Grazing by macrozooplankton (>73 μm) removed 17 to 83% of phytoplankton standing stock during the late summer (July–September) of each year with ≤15% removed by planktonic herbivores throughout the rest of the year. High salinities, densities, nutrient levels and declining oxygen concentrations in near-bottom waters at 11 m in the study area indicate that sub-pycnocline, mid-channel waters may frequently displace nearshore waters in the region.

Keywords

Biomass Phosphorus Silicate Respiration Sedimentation 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature Cited

  1. American Public Health Association, American Water Works Association, Water Pollution Control Federation (APHA, AWWA and WPCF) (1971) Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater, 13th ed. Washington, DC: 874 pp.Google Scholar
  2. Boynton WR, Kemp WM and Keefe CW (1982) A comparative analysis of nutrients and other factors influencing estuarine phytoplankton production. In: Kennedy VS (ed) Estuarine comparisons. New York: Academic Press: pp. 69–90.Google Scholar
  3. Boynton WR, Kemp WM and Garber JH (1986) Maryland Office of Environmental Programs: Maryland Chesapeake Bay Water Quality Monitoring Program: Ecosystem Processes Component (EPC). Draft Integrated Report. Solomons, MD: Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, Univ. of Maryland: 9 pp.Google Scholar
  4. Boynton WR, Hall CA, Falkowski PG, Keefe CW and Kemp WM (1983) Phytoplankton productivity in aquatic systems. In: Lange OL, Nobel PS, Osmond CB and Ziegler H, (eds) Physiological plant ecology IV. New York: Springer-Verlag: pp 305–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Carter HH, Regier RJ, Schiemer EW and Michael JA (1978) The summertime vertical distribution of dissolved oxygen at the Calvert Cliffs Generating Station: A physical interpretation. Spec. Rept. 60, Ref. 78-1, CBI. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins: 95 pp.Google Scholar
  6. Coutant CC (1985) Striped bass, temperature, and dissolved oxygen: A speculative hypothesis. Trans Amer Fish Soc 114:31–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Davies JM and Payne R (1984) Supply of organic matter to the sediment in the northern North Sea during a spring phytoplankton bloom. Mar Biol 78:315–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Davies JM and Williams PJ leB (1984) Verification of 14C and O2 derived primary organic production measurements using an enclosed ecosystem. J Plankton Res 6:457–474.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. D’Elia, CF, Stendler PA and Corwin TH (1977) Determination of total nitrogen on aqueous samples using persulfate digestion. Limnol Oceanogr 22:760–764.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. D’Elia, CF, Nelson DN and Boynton WR (1983) Chesapeake Bay nutrient and plankton dynamics: III: The annual cycle of dissolved silicon. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 47:1945–1955.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. D’Elia, CF, Sanders JG and Boynton WR (1986) Nutrient enrichment studies in a coastal plain estuary: Phytoplankton growth in large-scale continuous cultures. Can J Fish Aq Sci 43:397–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Durbin EG, Durbin AG, Smayda TJ and Verity PG (1983) Food limitation of production by adult Acartia tonsa in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. Limnol Oceanogr 28:1199–1213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (1974) Methods for analysis of water and wastewater: EPA-625/6-7-003. Cincinnati, OH: Methods Development and Quality Assurance Research Laboratory: 1193 pp.Google Scholar
  14. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (1982) Chesapeake Bay program technical studies: A synthesis. Washington, DC: USEPA: 635 pp.Google Scholar
  15. Eppley RW, Rogers JN and McCarthy JJ (1969) Half saturation constants for uptake of nitrate and ammonium by marine phytoplankton. Limnol Oceanogr 14:912–920.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Exton RJ, Houghton WM, Esaias W, Haas LW and Hayward D (1983) Spectral differences and temporal stability of phycoerythrin fluorescence in estuarine and coastal waters due to the domination of labile cryptophytes and stabile cyanobcteria. Limnol Oceanogr 28:1225–1231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fisher TR, Harding LW Jr Stanley DW and Ward LG (In review) Phytoplankton nutrients and turbidity in the Chesapeake, Delaware and Hudson estuaries. Est Coastal Shelf Sci.Google Scholar
  18. Flemer DA (1970) Primary production in the Chesapeake Bay. Chesapeake Sci 11:117–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Forsskaåhl M, Laakkonen A, Leppänen J-M, Niemi Å, Sundberg A and Tamelander G (1982) Seasonal cycle of production and sedimentation of organic matter at the entrance to the Gulf of Finland. Neth J Sea Res 16:290–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Glibert PM (1982) Regional studies of daily seasonal and size fraction variability in ammonium regeneration. Mar Biol 70:209–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Goodrich DM, Boicourt WC, Hamilton P and Pritchard DW (In review) Wind-induced destratification in the Chesapeake Bay. J Phys Oceanogr.Google Scholar
  22. Harding LW Jr, Meeson BW and Fisher TR Jr (1986) Phytoplankton production in two east coast estuaries: Photosynthesis-light functions and patterns of carbon assimilation in Chesapeake and Delaware Bays. Est Coastal Shelf Sci 23:773–806.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hargrave BT (1980) Factors affecting the flux of organic matter to sediments in a marine bay In: Tenore KR and Coull BC (eds) Marine benthic dynamics. Columbia SC: Univ S Carolina Press: pp 243–263.Google Scholar
  24. Heinle DR and Flemer DA (1975) Carbon requirements of a population of the estuarine copepod Eurytemora affinis. Mar Biol 31:235–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Keefe CW, Boynton WR and Kemp WM (1981) A review of phytoplankton processes in estuarine environments. UMCEES Ref No 81-193CBL. Solomons MD: Ches Biol Lab Univ MD: 4 pp.Google Scholar
  26. Kemp WM, Wetzel RL, Boynton WR, D’Elia CF and Stevenson JC (1982) Nitrogen cycling and estuarine interfaces: Some current concepts and research directions. In: Kennedy VS (ed) Estuarine comparisons. New York: Academic Press: pp 209–230.Google Scholar
  27. Knudsen M (1901) Hydrographical tables. Copenhagen: G E C Gad: 63 pp.Google Scholar
  28. Lassahn NG Jr and Lodge JR (1979) Vertical distribution of dissolved oxygen in the vicinity of the cooling water intake. In: Nonradiological environmental monitoring report Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant January-December 1978. Baltimore MD: Balt Gas and Elec Co: pp 5.3-1 to 5.3-12.Google Scholar
  29. Loftus ME and Seliger HH (1977) A comparative study of primary production and standing crops of phytoplankton in a portion of the upper Chesapeake Bay subsequent to tropical storm Agnes. In: The effects of tropical storm Agnes on the Chesapake Bay estuarine system. Chesapeake Research Consortium Inc: CRC Publ No 54. Baltimore MD: Johns Hopkins: pp 509–521.Google Scholar
  30. Loftus ME, Subba Rao DV and Seliger HH (1972) Growth and dissipation of phytoplankton in Chesapeake Bay: I: Response to a large pulse of rainfall. Chesapeake Sci 13:282–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. MacIsaac JJ and Dugdale RC (1969) The kinetics of nitrate and ammonia uptake by natural populations of marine phytoplankton. Deep-Sea Res 16:45–57.Google Scholar
  32. Magnien RE, Curtis MC and Matthews NL (1985) Reaeration event disrupts Chesapeake Bay deep-trough anoxia during summer 1984. Abstract. 48th Annual Meeting June 1985 Amer Soc Limnol Oceanogr.Google Scholar
  33. Malone TC, Hopkins TS, Falkowski PG and Whitledge TE (1983) Production and transport of phytoplankton biomass over the continental shelf of the New York Bight. Contin Shelf Res 1:305–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Malone TC, Kemp WM, Ducklow HW, Boynton WR, Tuttle JH and Jonas RB (1986) Lateral variation in the production and fate of phytoplankton in a partially stratified estuary. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 32:149–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Marshall HG and Lacouture RV (1986) Seasonal patterns of growth and composition of phytoplankton in the lower Chesapeake Bay and vicinity. Est Coastal Shelf Sci 23:115–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Martin DF (1972) Marine chemistry, Vol. 1: Analytical methods, 2nd ed. New York: Marcel Dekker: 389 pp.Google Scholar
  37. McCarthy JJ, Taylor WR and Loftus ME (1974) Significance of nannoplankton in the Chesapeake Bay estuary and problems associated with the measurement of nannoplankton productivity. Mar Biol 24:7–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. McCarthy JJ, Taylor WR and Taft JL (1977) Nitrogenous nutrition of the plankton in the Chesapeake Bay: 1: Nutrient availability and phytoplankton preferences. Limnol Oceanogr 22:996–1011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Mihursky JA, Heinle DR and Boynton WR (1977) Ecological effects of nuclear steam electric station operations on estuarine systems. Unpubl Rept UMCEES Ref No 77-28-CBL. Solomons MD: Chesapeake Biol Lab Univ Maryland.Google Scholar
  40. Mountford K (1969) Plankton studies in Barnegat Bay. MS Thesis: Rutgers Univ, Library of Sci and Medicine: 62 pp.Google Scholar
  41. Mulford RA (1972) An annual plankton cycle on the Chesapeake Bay in the vicinity of Calvert Cliffs Maryland, June 1969–May 1970. Proc Acad Nat Sci Phila 124:17–40.Google Scholar
  42. Murphy J and Riley JP (1962) Modified single solution method for the determination of phosphate in natural water. Anal Chim Acta 27:31–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Officer CB, Boggs RB, Taft JL, Cronin LE, Tyler MA and Boynton WR (1984) Chesapeake Bay anoxia: Origin, development and significance. Science 223:22–27.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Paasche E (1980) Silicon. In: Morris I (ed) Studies in Ecol: The physiological ecology of phytoplankton. Berkeley, CA: Univ California Press: pp 259–284.Google Scholar
  45. Paerl HW (1984) An evaluation of freeze fixation as a phytoplankton preservation method for microautoradiography. Limnol Oceanogr 29:417–426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Patten BC, Mulford RA and Warriner JE (1963) An annual phytoplankton cycle in the lower Chesapeake Bay. Chesapeake Sci 4:1–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Pratt DM (1965) The winter-spring diatom flowering in Narragansett Bay. Limnol Oceanogr 10:173–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Price KS, Flemer DA, Taft JL, MacKiernan GB, Nehlsen W, Biggs RB, Burger NH and Blaylock DA (1985) Nutrient enrichment of Chesapeake Bay and its impact on the habitat of striped bass: A speculative hypothesis. Trans Am Fish Soc 114:97–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Ray RT (1986) The role of picoplankton in phytoplankton dynamics. Unpubl Masters Thesis: Virginia Inst Marine Sci, College of William and Mary, Gloucester Point VA: 85 pp.Google Scholar
  50. Riley GA (1956) Oceanography of Long Island Sound, 1952–54: IX: Production and utilization of organic matter. Bull Bingham Oceanogr Coll 15:324–343.Google Scholar
  51. Salas HJ and Thomann RV (1978) A steady-state phytoplankton model of Chesapeake Bay. J Water Pollut Contr Fed 50:2752–2770.Google Scholar
  52. Seliger HH, Boggs JA and Biggley WH (1985) Catastrophic anoxia in the Chesapeake Bay in 1984. Science 228:70–73.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Seliger HH, and Loftus ME (1974) Growth and dissipation of phytoplankton in Chesapeake Bay: II: A statistical analysis of phytoplankton standing crops in the Rhode and West rivers and an adjacent section of the Chesapeake Bay. Chesapeake Sci 15:185–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Sellner KG (1982) Phytoplankton in Chesapeake Bay: Role in carbon, oxygen and nutrient dynamics. In: Majumdar SK, Hall LW Jr and Austin HM (eds) Contaminant problems and management of living Chesapeake Bay resources. Easton, PA: Penn Acad Sci.Google Scholar
  55. Sellner KG (1983) Plankton productivity and biomass in a tributary of the upper Chesapeake Bay: I: Importance of size-fractionated phytoplankton productivity, biomass and species composition in carbon export. Est Coastal Shelf Sci 17:187–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Sellner KG and Horwitz RJ (1984) Plankton interactions in the Patuxent River estuary: Field studies of community composition and density with a deterministic model of the effects of Zooplankton grazing on phytoplankton carbon production of fecal matter sediment oxygen demand and nutrient regeneration. Rept No 82-14F. Philadelphia PA: Acad Nat Sci Phila: 119 pp.Google Scholar
  57. Sellner KG and Brownlee DC (1986) Maryland Office of Environmental Programs Water Quality Monitoring Program: Phytoplankton and microzooplankton component. Benedict, MD: Acad Nat Sci Phila, Benedict Est Res Lab: 139 pp.Google Scholar
  58. Sellner KG Lacouture RV and Parrish CR (1986a) Cyanobacteria in the Potomac River estuary: Densities productivity and the effects of increasing salinity. Abstract and presentation: New Orleans, LA: AGU-ASLO Meetings, January 13–17, 1986.Google Scholar
  59. Sellner KG Magnien RE, Boynton WR and Kemp WM (1986b) Relationships between nutrients and plankton in Cheapeake Bay: II: Phytoplankton dynamics and fate of primary production ASLO-PSA. Abstract and presentation June, 1986, URI: Kingston, RI.Google Scholar
  60. Smayda TJ (1983) The phytoplankton of estuaries In: Ketchum BH (ed) Estuaries and enclosed seas. Amsterdam: Elsevier: pp. 65–102.Google Scholar
  61. Smetacek V, von Bröckel K, Zeitzschel B and Zenk W (1978) Sedimentation of particulate matter during a phytoplankton spring bloom in relation to the hydrographical regions. Mar Biol 47:211–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Strickland JDH and Parsons TR (1972) A practical handbook of seawater analysis. Bull No 167: Ottawa: Fish Res Bd Canada: 310 pp.Google Scholar
  63. Taft JC (1982) Nutrient processes in Chesapeake Bay. In: Chesapeake Bay Program technical studies: A synthesis. Washington, DC: US EPA: pp 103–145.Google Scholar
  64. Taft JL, Loftus ME and Taylor WR (1977) Phosphate uptake from phosphomonoesters by phytoplankton in the Chesapeake Bay. Limnol Oceanogr 22:1012–1021.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Taft JL, and WR Taylor (1976) Phosphorus dynamics in some coastal plain estuaries. Est Processes 1:79–89.Google Scholar
  66. Taft JL, Taylor WR, Hartwig EO and Loftus R (1980) Seasonal oxygen depletion in Chesapeake Bay. Estuaries 3:242–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Tuttle JH and Gilmour CC (1985) Microbial sulfate production in Chesapeake Bay. EOS 66:1319.Google Scholar
  68. Tuttle JH, Malone T, Jonas R, Ducklow H and Cargo D (1985) Nutrient-dissolved oxygen dynamics: Roles of phytoplankton and microheterotrophs under summer conditions. Ref [UMCEES] CBL-85-39 Solomons MD: Univ of Maryland Ches Biol Lab: 50 pp.Google Scholar
  69. US Navy (1952) Tables for sea water density. H O Publ No 615. Washington DC: US Navy Hydrographic Office: 265 pp.Google Scholar
  70. Van Valkenburg SA and Flemer DA (1974) The distribution and productivity of nanoplankton in a temperate estuarine area. Est Coastal Mar Sci 2:311–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Van Valkenburg SD, Jones JK and Heinle DR (1978) A comparison by size class and volume of detritus versus phytoplankton in Chesapake Bay. Est Coastal Mar Sci 6:569–582.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Wassmann P (1983) Sedimentation of organic and inorganic particulate material in Lindollene a stratified canal-locked fjord in western Norway. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 13:237–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Webb KL and D’Elia CF (1980) Nutrient and oxygen redistribution during a spring/neap tidal cycle in a temperate estuary. Science 207:983–985.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Williams P J leB, Raine RCT and Bryan JR (1979) Agreement between the 14C and oxygen methods of measuring phytoplankton production: Reassessment of the photosynthetic quotient. Oceanol Acta 2:411–416.Google Scholar
  75. Williams P J leB, Heinemann KR, Marra J and Purdie DR (1983) Comparison of 14C and O2 measurements of phytoplankton production in oligotrophic waters. Nature 305:49–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Wood ED (1962) Determination of nitrate in sea water by cadmium-copper reduction to nitrate. J Mar Biol Assoc U K 47:23–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Yamada SS and D’Elia CF (1984) Silicic acid regeneration from estuarine sediment cores. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 18:113–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin G. Sellner
  • Michael E. Kachur

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations