Spatio-temporal patterns of biophysical parameters in a microtidal, bar-built, subtropical estuary of the Gulf of Mexico

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Title: Spatio-temporal patterns of biophysical parameters in a microtidal, bar-built, subtropical estuary of the Gulf of Mexico
Author: Gable, George M., IV
Abstract: Plankton communities are influenced , in part , by water exchange with adjacent estuarine and oceanic ecosystems . Reduced advective transport through tidal passes or with adjacent bay systems can affect chemical processes and biological interactions , such as nutrient cycling , phytoplankton abundance and productivity , community respiration , and zooplankton biovolume . The most threatened estuarine ecosystems are shallow , bar -built , microtidal estuaries with small water volumes and restricted connections through tidal passes and other water exchange points . This research explored spatio -temporal trends in plankton communities and the physicochemical environment in Mesquite Bay , Texas a microtidal , bar -built , subtropical estuary in the Gulf of Mexico . This research couples sampling at fixedstations for multiple physical and biological parameters with high -resolution spatial mapping of physicochemical parameters . Spatial trends were less in magnitude and affected fewer parameters in fixed station and spatial data . Two dimensional ordination plots indicated spatial heterogeneity with a more pronounced temporal trend affecting parameters including temperature , salinity as a function of inflow timing , and seasonal wind direction affecting primary production and zooplankton biovolume . Temperature was positively correlated with gross production and respiration rates during spring and late summer with sporadic positive and negative correlations with phytoplankton biomass . The timing and magnitude of freshwater inflow affected various physicochemical and biological parameters . Higher than 71 -year inflow rates resulted in low salinity system wide , with spatial heterogeneity increasing over the course of the study , which was confirmed by spatial maps . Additionally , high inflow rates led to two periods of increased inorganic nutrients and dissolved organic matter . Low salinity periods coincided with persistence of higher turbidity , likely because of decreased sediment flocculation . Gross production was low at this time , and likely from light limitation . Additionally , wind magnitude and direction created spatial heterogeneity in turbidity levels and phytoplankton biomass . Zooplankton biovolume was highest during spring and late summer with high species diversity in total rotifers . Copepod biovolume and phytoplankton biomass were positively correlated . Other zooplankton taxonomic groups exhibited variable correlations with phytoplankton biomass and other taxonomic groups . Further long -term studies are needed to determine interactions of various components of trophic food -webs and account for interannual variability in all system parameters .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /ETD -TAMU -1637
Date: 2009-05-15

Citation

Spatio-temporal patterns of biophysical parameters in a microtidal, bar-built, subtropical estuary of the Gulf of Mexico. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /ETD -TAMU -1637 .

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