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Periphyton in Springs What do we know?. Periphyton? attached to anything under water ☼ Algae ☼ cyano-bacteria (blue-green algae) ☼ bacteria ☼ decaying.

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Presentation on theme: "Periphyton in Springs What do we know?. Periphyton? attached to anything under water ☼ Algae ☼ cyano-bacteria (blue-green algae) ☼ bacteria ☼ decaying."— Presentation transcript:

1 Periphyton in Springs What do we know?

2 Periphyton? attached to anything under water ☼ Algae ☼ cyano-bacteria (blue-green algae) ☼ bacteria ☼ decaying material

3 Periphyton background Term coined in 1920s by Russian limnologist. May not be the appropriate term when only talking about algae. Benthic algae is the more appropriate term.

4 Benthic Algae- Primary producer This means they use nutrients and sunlight to grow. So, if you were a scientist looking at benthic algae in springs… You would probably look at a relationship between primary producers, nutrients, and light

5 The 1 st Characterization L.A. Whitford (N.C. State Univ.) “ The Communities of Algae in the Springs and Spring Streams of Florida” (1956) Characterized the first algal communities in Florida springs Collected for > 3 years at 30 different springs

6 What Whitford found?? Benthic algae make by far the major portion of the algal flora in both spring and run

7 What Whitford found The most prevalent community in springs are the diatoms that are not only attached to underwater surfaces, but also free living in the mats of attached algae.

8 What Whitford found What is the benthic algae relationship to water chemistry Nitrate has no apparent effect on the flora. Carbon dioxide and oxygen seem to have little effect on community except when oxygen is depleted.

9 What Whitford found What habitat factors are important to benthic algae? Next to light, current is the most important. In current, the constant renewal of minerals and gases at the plants surface is emphasized.

10 1 st study on primary production in FL Springs Howard T. Odum (University of Florida-2002) “Primary Production Measurements in Eleven Florida Springs and a Marine Turtle-Grass Community” (1957) Calculated primary production on springs by measuring oxygen and carbon dioxide throughout the day just below the spring boil.

11 Odum found that… Carbon-dioxide, nitrogen, and phosphorus suggests no correlation with the primary production. Light is the most important factor controlling production. that “permanently fixed benthic algal communities are like pine trees on land (Rabinowitch 1951) are sun tolerant at high light intensities…”

12 After the Gap… In 1995, there was another look at what is living in springs. “Description of Benthic Communities in Karst, Spring-Fed Streams of North Florida” Mattson, et. al. Systems of the lower Suwannee and lower Sante Fe are dominated by diatoms.

13 Nutrients & benthic algae Nutrient Limitation of Periphyton in a Spring-Fed, Coastal Stream in Florida, USA ” Mean periphyton biomass in μg chl/cm2 by treatment type Notenstein, et al. (UF) 2003 Periphyton, Phosphorus This means that phosphorus is the nutrient that most affected algal growth

14 Nutrients & benthic algae PBS&J, SRWMD, & Notenstein, et.al. “Mapping and Monitoring Submerged Aquatic Vegetation in Ichetucknee Springs – 2004”

15 In the River In the feeder springs Periphyton & nutrient No significant relationship between Nutrients not in short supply Periphyton Phosphorus

16 Remember Whitman & Odum Current constantly renews nutrients so that there is no real deficit

17 Nutrients & benthic algae Series of spring studies (UF) “Ecological Conditions of Algae and Nutrients in Florida Springs: A Synthesis Report” Stevenson, et Al. (2007) 29 freshwater Springs: 1 st magnitude (64.6 mgd or more) 2 nd magnitude (6.46 – 64.6 mgd) Wide range of water nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations

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20 Stevenson et. Al. overview Algae mat type Physical/chemical factor Relationship Vaucheria abundance↑ Nitrogen (in the water)↑ mat growth ↑ Phosphorus (in the water)↑ mat growth Lyngbya abundance↑ sediment phosphorus↑ mat growth Lyngbya abundance Human disturbance Within 1000m of site ↑ mat growth Lyngbya abundanceLight↑ mat growth Lyngbya abundanceConductivity ( uS)↑ mat growth Lyngbya abundanceIron ( ug)↑ mat growth

21 Stevenson et. Al overview Algae mat type Physical/chemical factor Relationship Lyngbya abundanceNitrogen (in the water)Not related Phosphorus (in the water)Not related Lyngbya abundance Conductivity (>3000uS)↓ mat growth Lyngbya abundance Iron (600ug)↓ mat growth Overal algal mat abundance ↑ Flooding↓ mat growth

22 Bugs & benthic algae “ Environmental Factors Affecting Aquatic Invertebrate Community Structure on Snags in the Ichetucknee river, Florida” Nancy Marie Steigerwalt (UF, thesis, 2008) Algae living on the woody debris increases the surface area for the invertebrate habitat.

23 Bugs & benthic algae “ Relationships Between Benthic Algae and Macroinvertebrate Communities inFlorida Spring Run Streams” Robert Mattson, SJWMD (2007)

24 Rob Mattson found… In general, more of a negative consequence to macroinvertebrate communities from the increased algal growth in springs and spring streams than positive.

25 Snails & benthic algae “ Oxygen Mediated Grazing Impacts In Florida Springs” Kristen Dormjo (UF, thesis, 2007) Grazing impacts on algae from the snail, Elimia floridensis

26 Snails & benthic aglae In the river in combination with some other factor(s) is responsible for controlling periphyton growth

27 Snails & benthic aglae In the feeder spring/ runs no regulatory effect on periphyton Other snails inhabit feeder springs Affects on algal growth not measured in this study

28 Other factors & benthic algae “Factors Affecting Periphyton Abundance on Macrophytes in a Spring-Fed River in Florida” Vincent Politano (UF, thesis, 2008) Ichetucknee River and feeder springs

29 Other factors & benthic algae Dissolved oxygen Periphyton Stream velocity Periphyton

30 Current benthic algal research Dina M. Liebowitz, School of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL Matthew J. Cohen, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL James B. Heffernan, Biological Sciences, Florida International University, Miami, FL Thomas K. Frazer, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

31 Current benthic algal research recent DO decreases in springs due to interactions of climatic variation and consumptive use. The DO-grazer hypothesis Entire grazer community Algal biomass Chemical and seasonal variability

32 Current benthic algal research Synoptic ecosystem study on 12 Florida springs Conducted by Wetland Solutions, Inc. Sponsored by: Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission With support from Department of Environmental Protection St. John’s River Water Management District Southwest Florida Water Management District Three Rivers Trust, Inc.

33 References Dormsjo, K. (2008). Oxygen mediated grazing impacts in Florida springs. Unpublished Master thesis. University of Florida, Gainseville, FL. Mattson, R.A. (2007). Relationships between benthic algae and macroinvertebrate communities in Florida spring run streams. St. Johns River Water Mngmnt. Dist. Mattson, R.A., Epler, John H., Hein, Michael K. (1995). Description of benthic macroinvertebrate communities in karst, spring-fed systems in northcentral Florida. J. Kansas Ent. Soc., 68(2), Odum, Howard T. (1957). Primary Production Measurements in Eleven Florida Springs and a Marine Turtle-Grass Community. Limn. and Oceano., 2(2): Politano, Vincent (2008). Factors affecting periphyton abundance on macrophytes in a spring-fed river in Florida. Master thesis. University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. Stevenson, R.J., Pinowska, A., Albertin, A, & Sickman, J. (2007). Ecological Condition of algae and nutrients in Florida springs: The synthesis report. Submitted to FL Dept. Environ. Protect., Tallahassee, FL. Whitford, L.A. (1956). The communities of Algae in the springs and spring streams of Florida. Ecology. 37(3),


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