EPA Science Advisory Board
Combining new technologies for determination of phytoplankton community structure in the northern Gulf of Mexico.
Journal of Phycology 41 (2): 305-310
Subgroup 1: Characterization of the Cause(s) of Hypoxia
Abstract: In situ analysis of phytoplankton community structure was determined at five stations along the Texas Gulf coast using two instruments, the Fluoroprobe and FlowCAM. Results were compared with traditional methods to determine community structure (pigment analysis and microscopy). Diatoms and small nanoplankton (most likely haptophytes) dominated the phytoplankton community at all stations. Estimated chl concentrations for diatoms+dinoflagellates obtained via the Fluoroprobe were not significantly different for three of the five stations sampled when compared with HPLC-chemical taxonomy analysis, whereas the concentrations of green algal and cryptophyte chl were overestimated. The FlowCAM estimates of overall nanoplankton and microplankton cell abundance were not significantly different when compared with epifluorescence microscopy, and recorded images of phytoplankton cells provided a representative population of the phytoplankton community at each station. The Fluoroprobe and FlowCAM, when used in tandem, are potentially capable of determining the general characteristics of phytoplankton community structure in situ and could be an important addition to biological observing systems in the coastal ocean.