2nd UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Paula Viveros
Session Name Poster Session: Hydrologic, Biogeochemical and Ecological Processes 2
Category Hydrologic, biogeochemical and ecological processes
Poster Number 238
Author(s) Paula Viveros,  UF, SFRC, Program of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
  Edward Phlips,  UF, SFRC, Program of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
  Phytoplankton Composition and Abundance in Relation to Salinity, Nutrients and Light Gradients in Apalachicola Bay
  The Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve (ANERR) is located in the Florida panhandle on the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico. This estuary is an example of an ecosystem that has been impacted by human development. The Apalachicola estuary is important both ecologically and commercially; it serves as a nursery and spawning ground for aquatic wildlife, and supports a large shellfish industry which depends on the fresh water dominated estuary. However, the flow of the river has been reduced in recent years, due to both drought conditions and increased upstream anthropogenic water withdrawal, endangering the integrity of the estuary, including the structure and function of the planktonic and benthic communities. The aim of the present study is to determine spatial and temporal patterns of phytoplankton composition and abundance in the estuary and correlate the results with observed gradients in salinity, nutrients concentration and light availability. The study is intended for two years; samples for chemical analyses and phytoplankton composition and abundance are collected on a monthly basis at a range of sampling sites within the bay. The overall goal of the study is to help define how future changes in flow and nutrient content of the Apalachicola River will impact the structure and function of the phytoplankton community which is the foundation of the food chain. The results of the project will provide critical information to the ANERR for the development of future management plans, and will contribute to a broader understanding of watershed-estuary relationships in river dominated ecosystems around world.