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Free Content Spatial Variability in Phytoplankton Standing Crop and Composition in a Shallow Inner-Shelf Lagoon, Florida Bay, Florida

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Spatial and temporal patterns of phytoplankton standing crop and composition in Florida Bay were studied for a 6-month period. Significant spatial differences were observed supporting the hypothesis that the bay is composed of a number of ecologically distinct regions. The highest standing crops of planktonic algae and cyanobacteria were found in the central-interior region of the bay, where the small unicellular cyanobacterium Synechococcus dominated the planktonic assemblage. Chlorophyll a concentrations ranged from 8–40 mg m–3 in this region, and Synechococcus was responsible for nearly 100% of total phytoplankton biovolume, In other regions of the bay total chlorophyll a concentrations were significantly lower and the relative importance of diatoms and dinoflagellates increased in relationship to total phytoplankton biovolume, Model relationships between chlorophyll a and total nutrient concentrations supported the commonly held view that the primary limiting nutrient in the bay may be phosphorus. However, the strong presence of a potentially nitrogen-fixing species of cyanobacteria indicates that nitrogen must be considered in evaluating the limiting status of planktonic primary production.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 1996

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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