Hurricane Irma’s Impact on Water Quality and Phytoplankton Communities in Biscayne Bay (Florida, USA)
The short-term (< 6 months) effects of Hurricane Irma on water quality and phytoplankton community structure were assessed in Biscayne Bay and the adjacent coastal canals from September 2017 through January 2018. The bay experienced sharp fluctuations in daily average salinity and salinity gradients during the passage of the hurricane and significant decreases in salinity as a result of increased freshwater inflows that followed the hurricane (148.2% increase in total inflows in the first week after the hurricane compared to a week before). These decreases were most pronounced in southern and south-central parts of the bay, which experienced the largest post-hurricane increases in freshwater inflows (349.4% and 103.1% in southern and south-central parts of the bay, respectively). Storm-induced increases in inorganic nutrient concentrations stimulated phytoplankton growth in northern, north-central, and southern parts of the bay. Opportunistic phytoplankton taxonomic groups such as chlorophytes and cyanobacteria dominated the total algal biomass pool in the canals, and northern and southern parts of the bay in the weeks following the storm, but they were gradually outcompeted by diatoms in the following months. Changes in spatial-temporal phytoplankton community structure in the months following Hurricane Irma reflect recovery and return to usual seasonal patterns. The effect of Hurricane Irma on water quality and phytoplankton communities was short-lived (< 3 months), suggesting that Biscayne Bay is resilient to tropical cyclones.
KeywordsHurricane Extreme events Phytoplankton Water quality Biscayne Bay Nutrients Salinity distribution Diatoms Cyanobacteria Chlorophytes Resilience
This study was made possible thanks to the collaboration between South Florida Water Management District, the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Fisheries Science Center, and the NOAA Research Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory. The study grew out of an earlier collaboration between Florida International University, NOAA, the National Research Council (Fellowship), and the NOAA Biscayne Bay Habitat Focus Area Initiative, as supported by the NOAA Fisheries Offices of Habitat Conservation and Science and Technology and by the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office. Many thanks are due to NOAA, DERM, and BNP technicians for post–Hurricane Irma field assistance and Biscayne Bay water quality monitoring. We would also like to thank Ellen Negley from SFWMD Creative Services for her help with the graphics, and internal (SFWMD and NOAA) and external (Estuaries and Coasts) reviewers for detailed and helpful comments on the manuscript.
- Anderson, M.J. 2014. Permutational multivariate analysis of variance (PERMANOVA). In Wiley StatsRef: Statistics Reference Online, 1–15.Google Scholar
- Bradner, A., B.F. McPherson, R.L. Miller, G. Kish, and B. Bernard. 2005. Quality of ground water in the Biscayne Aquifer in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, Florida, 1996–1998, with emphasis on contaminants (no. OPEN-FILE-2004-1438). Washington DC: United States Geological Survey.Google Scholar
- Cangialosi, J. P., Latto, A. S., and Berg, R. 2018. National Hurricane Center tropical cyclone report: Hurricane Irma. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: May, 30.Google Scholar
- Clarke, K.R., and R.N. Gorley. 2015. Getting started with PRIMER v7. Plymouth: PRIMER-E.Google Scholar
- Clarke, K.R., R.N. Gorley, P.J. Somerfield, and R.M. Warwick. 2014. Change in marine communities: an approach to statistical analysis and interpretation. 3rd ed. Plymouth: PRIMER-E.Google Scholar
- Dufrêne, M., and P. Legendre. 1997. Species assemblages and indicator species: the need for a flexible asymmetrical approach. Ecological Monographs 67 (3): 345–366.Google Scholar
- FASS 1997. Florida agricultural statistics: vegetable summary (1995–96). Florida Agricultural Statistics Service, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, 70 pp.Google Scholar
- Florida Department of Environmental Protection. 2018. Notices of Pollution. http://prodenv.dep.state.fl.us/DepPNP/reports/viewIncidentDetails?page=1. Accessed 10 September 2018.
- Glibert, P.M., C.A. Heil, D.T. Rudnick, C.J. Madden, J.N. Boyer, and S. Kelly. 2009. Florida Bay: water quality status and trends, historic and emerging algal bloom problems. Contributions in Marine Science 38: 5–17.Google Scholar
- Glibert, P.M., F.P. Wilkerson, R.C. Dugdale, J.A. Raven, C.L. Dupont, P.R. Leavitt, et al. 2016. Pluses and minuses of ammonium and nitrate uptake and assimilation by phytoplankton and implications for productivity and community composition, with emphasis on nitrogen-enriched conditions. Limnology and Oceanography 61 (1): 165–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- IPCC (2018). Global warming of 1.5°C. An IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty [V. Masson-Delmotte, P. Zhai, H. O. Pörtner, D. Roberts, J. Skea, P.R. Shukla, A. Pirani, W. Moufouma-Okia, C. Péan, R. Pidcock, S. Connors, J. B. R. Matthews, Y. Chen, X. Zhou, M. I. Gomis, E. Lonnoy, T. Maycock, M. Tignor, T. Waterfield (eds.)]. In Press.Google Scholar
- Kruskal, J. B., and M. Wish. 1978. Multidimensional scaling. In Sage University Paper Series on Quantitative Applications in the Social Sciences, No. 07-011, Sage Publications, Newbury Park. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781412985130.
- Liu, X., M. Wang, and W. Shi. 2009. A study of a Hurricane Katrina–induced phytoplankton bloom using satellite observations and model simulations. Journal of Geophysical Research, Oceans (C3): 114.Google Scholar
- Lomas, M. W., and Glibert, P. M. 1999. Temperature regulation of nitrate uptake: A novel hypothesis about nitrate uptake and reduction in coolwater diatoms. Limnology and Oceanography 44(3):556–572.Google Scholar
- Massie, J.A., B. Strickland, R.O. Santos, J. Hernandez, N. Viadero, H. Willoughby, M. Heithaus, and J.S. Rehage. this volume. Going down the river: hurricane driven movements of Common Snook in response to falling barometric pressure and increasing stage in a subtropical coastal river. Estuaries and Coasts.Google Scholar
- McCune, B., J.B. Grace, and D.L. Urban. 2002. Analysis of ecological communities. Vol. 28. Gleneden Beach: MjM software design.Google Scholar
- Miller, W.D., L.W. Harding Jr., and J.E. Adolf. 2006. Hurricane Isabel generated an unusual fall bloom in Chesapeake Bay. Geophysical Research Letters 33 (6).Google Scholar
- NEXRAD. 2018. SFWMD Rainfall Estimates Database http://apps.sfwmd.gov/nexrad2/nrdmain.action. Accessed 10 September 2018.
- NOAA. 2018. NOAA Tides and Currents Database. https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/stationhome.html?id=8723214. Accessed 10 September 2018.
- Paerl, H.W., J.D. Bales, L.W. Ausley, C.P. Buzzelli, L.B. Crowder, L.A. Eby, et al. 2001. Ecosystem impacts of three sequential hurricanes (Dennis, Floyd, and Irene) on the United States' largest lagoonal estuary, Pamlico Sound, NC. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 98 (10): 5655–5660.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Paerl, H.W., L.M. Valdes, A.R. Joyner, B.L. Peierls, M.F. Piehler, S.R. Riggs, et al. 2006. Ecological response to hurricane events in the Pamlico Sound system, North Carolina, and implications for assessment and management in a regime of increased frequency. Estuaries and Coasts 29 (6): 1033–1045.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Paerl, H.W., J.R. Crosswell, B. Van Dam, N.S. Hall, K.L. Rossignol, C.L. Osburn, et al. 2018. Two decades of tropical cyclone impacts on North Carolina’s estuarine carbon, nutrient and phytoplankton dynamics: implications for biogeochemical cycling and water quality in a stormier world. Biogeochemistry 141 (3): 307–332.Google Scholar
- Phlips, E.J., and S. Badylak. 1996. Spatial variability in phytoplankton standing crop and composition in a shallow inner-shelf lagoon, Florida Bay, Florida. Bulletin of Marine Science 58 (1): 203–216.Google Scholar
- Radabaugh, K.R., Moyer, R.P., Chappel, A.R., Dontis, E.E., Russo, C.E., Joyse. K.M., Bownik, M.W., Goeckner, A.H., Khan, N.S. 2019. Mangrove damage, delayed mortality, and early recovery following Hurricane Irma at two landfall sites in southwest Florida, USA. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12237-019-00564-8.
- Rudnick, D., C. Madden, S. Kelly, J. Boyer, S. Blair, K. Cunniff, and C. Kelble. 2007. Disturbance and ecosystem change in Florida Bay and southern Biscayne Bay. In Providence: Estuarine Research Federation Conference.Google Scholar
- South Florida Water Management District. 2015. Atlas of flow computations at hydraulic structures in the South Florida Water Management District. Technical Publication #2015-001, pp. 154.Google Scholar
- South Florida Water Management District. 2018a. SFWMD DBHYDRO Database. https://www.sfwmd.gov/science-data/dbhydro. Accessed 10 September 2018.
- South Florida Water Management District. 2018b. SFWMD Weather Data. https://www.sfwmd.gov/weather-radar/rainfall-historical/normal. Accessed 10 September 2018.
- Strickland, B., J. Massie, N. Viadero, J. Hernandez, R. Santos, V. Paz, K.R. Gastrich, P. O’Donnell, A. Kroetz, D.T. Ho, H. Willoughby, J.S. Rehage, and M.R. Heithaus. Movements of juvenile bull sharks in response to a major hurricane within tropical estuarine nursery area. (this volume).Google Scholar
- USACE. 2012. Water control plan for water conservation areas, Everglades National Park, and ENP-South Dade Conveyance System. pp. 137.Google Scholar
- Wilson, S.S., B.T. Furman, M.O. Hall, and J.W. Fourqurean. Assessment of Hurricane Irma impacts on South Florida seagrass communities using long-term monitoring programs. (this volume).Google Scholar
- Wingard, G.L., Bergstresser, S.E., Stackhouse, B.L., Jones, M.C., Marot, M.E., Daniels, A., Keller, K. This volume. This volume. Impacts of Hurricane Irma on Florida Bay islands, Everglades National Park.Google Scholar
- Zink, I.C., J. Browder, and C. Kelble. Extreme hurricane disturbance mediated shifts of a subtropical seagrass associated fish and macroinvertebrate community. (this volume).Google Scholar