eCite Digital Repository

Temporal variability of phytoplankton in a salt wedge estuary, the Swan-Canning Estuary, Western Australia


Thompson, PA, Temporal variability of phytoplankton in a salt wedge estuary, the Swan-Canning Estuary, Western Australia, Hydrological Processes, 15, (13) pp. 2617-2630. ISSN 0885-6087 (2001) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1002/hyp.289


The temporal cycles of variation in salinity, temperature and river flow in the Swan-Canning Estuary plus rainfall in the vicinity are examined. A 'normal' pattern is defined for rainfall and river flow based on long-term median monthly values from available historical data. Long-term monthly median rainfall and median monthly river flow were highly correlated. Deviations from the 'normal' patterns of rainfall and river flow are documented. Three years of detailed data on the temporal distribution of the algal biomass and phytoplankton community composition from the Swan-Canning Estuary are presented and discussed. Significant interannual variability in the phytoplankton biomass was observed with 1996 having a significantly lower median chlorophyll a concentration than 1995 or 1997. Different years also had pronounced differences in the timing, persistence and occurrence of algal blooms. Links with, and between, rainfall, river flow, nutrient concentrations and phytoplankton biomass are made by careful examination of the temporal patterns. Deviations from the proposed 'normal' temporal pattern of physical and chemical environmental factors relevant to the growth of phytoplankton biomass are assessed. Deviations from 'normal' rainfall and river flow, depending upon their timing and intensity, appear to be associated with occurrence of algal blooms. For example, the lack of a dinoflagellate bloom in December 1996 or January 1997 appears to be associated with a wetter than normal spring. Based upon the observed data, published reports and basic principles of algal ecology a set of predicted responses to variation in the major environmental variables (rainfall and river flow) are tabulated. The tabulated predictions are proposed as a useful tool for resource managers. Copy right © 2001 John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Coastal and estuarine systems and management
Objective Field:Coastal or estuarine biodiversity
UTAS Author:Thompson, PA (Dr Peter Thompson)
ID Code:23628
Year Published:2001
Web of Science® Times Cited:12
Deposited By:TAFI - Aquaculture
Deposited On:2002-03-21
Last Modified:2011-10-07

Repository Staff Only: item control page