Composition and Dynamics of Phytoplankton in the Coastal Bays of Maryland, USA, Revealed by Microscopic Counts and Diagnostic Pigments Analyses
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Composition and Dynamics of Phytoplankton in the Coastal Bays of Maryland, USA, Revealed by Microscopic Counts and Diagnostic Pigments Analyses
  • Published Date:

    2019

  • Source:
    Water 2019, 11(2), 368
Filetype[PDF-1.10 MB]


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  • Description:
    Maryland Coastal Bays (MCBs) have undergone changes in water quality in the past two decades due to nutrient enrichment but the composition and dynamics of the phytoplankton community have not been adequately described. Microscopic counts and photosynthetic pigments of samples collected monthly in 2012 at selected sites in MCBs that differed with regard to the degree of anthropogenic impacts were examined. Sixty-three (63) phytoplankton genera were recorded, of which 40 species are being reported for the first time in the Bays. Among the dominant species were Dactyliosolen fragilissimus (Bacillariophyta), Paulinella ovalis (Cercozoa) and Cryptomonas sp. (Cryptophyta). Bloom densities of Heterocapsa rotundata (Miozoa), which previously had not been reported in the Bays, were observed bay-wide in December, particularly at the mouth of St. Martin River. Diatoms dominated (>40%) the phytoplankton community in winter and decreased in spring (<40%), while Cercozoa and microphytoflagellates (MPF) co-dominated in summer (July). From August to October, diatoms dominated with maximum contributions from an unidentified small (<10 µM) centric species and co-dominated the assemblage with cryptophytes in late fall (November). Canonical correspondence analysis indicated that diatoms were favored by high salinity and total dissolved phosphorus (TDP), cercozoans and chlorophytes by total dissolved nitrogen (TDN) and cryptophytes by dissolved organic carbon. The spatial and seasonal differences in the composition of phytoplankton species, coupled with the occurrence of potentially toxic species and bloom densities of H. rotundata suggest that important changes have occurred in the phytoplankton assemblage that likely have affected the food web of these eutrophic bays.
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