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The influence of floodplain habitat on the quantity and quality of riverine phytoplankton carbon produced during the flood season in San Francisco estuary
Lehman, P.W.; Sommer, T.; Rivard, L. (2008). The influence of floodplain habitat on the quantity and quality of riverine phytoplankton carbon produced during the flood season in San Francisco estuary. Aquat. Ecol. 42(3): 363-378. dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10452-007-9102-6
In: Aquatic Ecology. Springer: Dordrecht; London; Boston. ISSN 1386-2588, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Carbon; Chlorophylls; Community composition; Environmental factors; Flood plains; Phytoplankton; Primary production; Respiration; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Lehman, P.W.
  • Sommer, T.
  • Rivard, L.

Abstract
    Primary productivity, community respiration, chlorophyll a concentration, phytoplankton species composition, and environmental factors were compared in the Yolo Bypass floodplain and adjacent Sacramento River in order to determine if passage of Sacramento River through floodplain habitat enhanced the quantity and quality of phytoplankton carbon available to the aquatic food web and how primary productivity and phytoplankton species composition in these habitats were affected by environmental conditions during the flood season. Greater net primary productivity of Sacramento River water in the floodplain than the main river channel was associated with more frequent autotrophy and a higher P:R ratio, chlorophyll a concentration, and phytoplankton growth efficiency (aB). Total irradiance and water temperature in the euphotic zone were positively correlated with net primary productivity in winter and early spring but negatively correlated with net primary productivity in the late spring and early summer in the floodplain. In contrast, net primary productivity was correlated with chlorophyll a concentration and streamflow in the Sacramento River. The flood pulse cycle was important for floodplain production because it facilitated the accumulation of chlorophyll a and wide diameter diatom and green algal cells during the drain phase. High chlorophyll a concentration and diatom and green algal biomass enabled the floodplain to export 14-37% of the combined floodplain plus river load of total, diatom and green algal biomass and wide diameter cells to the estuary downstream, even though it had only 3% of the river streamflow. The study suggested the quantity and quality of riverine phytoplankton biomass available to the aquatic food web could be enhanced by passing river water through a floodplain during the flood season.

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