Alternate Title

Changes in Phytoplankton and Bacterioplankton Biomass and Rate Processes in Apalachicola Bay, Florida, in Response to Reduction in River Discharge


Bacterioplankton abundance and chlorophyll concentration and the factors that control them (temperature, nutrient concentrations, and rates of growth, grazing, and export) were studied in Apalachicola Bay, FL, during two summers with contrasting river discharge. A reduction in river discharge from the summer of 2003 (S03) to the summer of 2004 (S04) led to a reduction in estuarine concentrations of dissolved inorganic nitrogen and rates of export, phytoplankton and bacterioplankton growth, and microzooplankton grazing on phytoplankton and bacterioplankton. Bacterioplankton abundance and chlorophyll concentration during S03 were not significantly different from those during S04. Neither the growth rates and abundances of ciliates nor the egg production rates and abundances of Acartia tonsa were significantly affected by the reduction in rate processes of bacterioplankton or phytoplankton. The proposed diversion of freshwater from the Apalachicola River during summer months may lead to substantial changes in the rate processes of bacterioplankton and phytoplankton, but little change in the standing stocks of bacterioplankton, phytoplankton, ciliates, A. tonsa, or ciliate growth rates and A. tonsa egg production rates.