Florida Coastal Everglades Long Term Ecological Research
Florida Coastal Everglades LTER - Project Information
Project Information

Characterization of diatom communities and development of diatom-based salinity, water nutrients and organic carbon prediction models for Biscayne Bay, USA

Short-term project
Start date: Apr-2005          End date: Oct-2005
Contact person: Evelyn Gaiser

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The spatial and temporal distribution of planktonic, benthic and epiphytic diatoms among 58 sites during two seasons in Biscayne Bay, Florida was examined in order to develop assessment models for salinity and water quality for this region. Cluster analysis distinguished nearshore from off-shore assemblages that were more distinct during the wet season than the dry season. Among a suite of measured physico-chemical variables, salinity, water depth, and sediment total phosphorus (STP) most greatly influenced diatom distribution in the dry season, while salinity, pH, STP and water total phosphorus (WTP) were the most important driving variables in the wet season. Because water concentrations of salts, total phosphorus (WTP), total nitrogen (WTN) and total organic carbon (WTOC) are partly controlled by water management in this region, I produced diatom-based models to assess these variables in modern and retrospective assessments. Weighted averaging partial least squares (WA-PLS) regression produced reliable estimates of salinity, WTP, WTN and WTOC from diatoms (r2=0.91, 0.78, 0.76 and 0.83, respectively). A discriminant function (DF) analysis demonstrated that diatoms can also be used to infer changes in the distribution of ecological zones and habitat availability in the bay.

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National Science Foundation logo This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation through the Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Ecological Research program under Cooperative Agreements #DEB-1832229, #DEB-1237517, #DBI-0620409, and #DEB-9910514. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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