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Use of phytoplankton pigment analysis to monitor eutrophication in the Belgian coast of the North Sea
Gonzales, R.O.M. (2004). Use of phytoplankton pigment analysis to monitor eutrophication in the Belgian coast of the North Sea. MSc Thesis. Universiteit Antwerpen/Vrije Universiteit Brussel: Brussel. 77 pp.

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Document type: Dissertation

    Algal blooms; Eutrophication; Monitoring; Phytoplankton; Pigments; Phaeocystis globosa Scherffel, 1899 [WoRMS]; ANE, Belgium, Belgian Coast [Marine Regions]; Marine

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  • Gonzales, R.O.M.

    Phaeocystis spring blooms occur in the North Sea due to eutrophication. This study aimed to determine whether HPLC pigment analysis can be used to monitor Phaeocystis bloom in the Belgian Coastal zone of the North Sea. Phytoplankton pigment composition of 10 stations along the Belgian Coastal waters was measured using HPLC. Seasonal variation was determined by sampling for 15 months from August 2002 to December 2003. Continuous fluorescence readings were collected during the monthly cruises. Contribution of algal classes to total chl a were derived from pigment data through CHEMTAX analysis and were compared with microscopic analysis. In general, the major dominating phytoplankton groups were diatoms, followed by chlorophytes and euglenophytes. However, in April, Phaeocystis seem to out-compete the other groups resulting to its dominance. By monitoring pigment composition, a pigment was selected to indicate occurrence of Phaeocystis bloom. Chl c3 was used as pigment marker for Phaeocystis. Results of CHEMTAX analysis showed more than 50% dominance of Phaeocystis in most stations in April 2003. The result of Antajan et al. (2004) suggesting that hex-fuco is not a good indicator of P. Globosa in the Belgian Coast was proved in this study. Chl c3 proved useful as indicator of Phaeocystis bloom but caution should be taken in interpreting the result of CHEMTAX due to occurrence of some diatom species also containing chl c3. Results of fluorescence readings suggested that phytoplankton blooms begin on the west side and spread towards the middle of the coast. The initiation of the bloom on west side was probably due to the relative clarity of water on that area based on Secchi depth measurements. In addition, another bloom seems to start from the Dutch Coast and appeared as a separate bloom from the one that begins at the western side.

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