Estuaries and Coasts

, Volume 30, Issue 5, pp 878–885 | Cite as

Phytoplankton biomass in a subtropical estuary: Distribution, size composition, and carbon:Chlorophyll ratios



The seasonal pattern of phytoplankton biomass (chlorophyll and particulate organic carbon) and the salinity-related pattern of phytoplankton biomass and size composition were determined in Apalachicola Bay, Florida, throughout 2004. Phytoplankton biomass was highest during summer and lowest during winter. During summer, phytoplankton biomass was highest in waters with salinity between about 5 and 23. In waters between 5 and 23, phytoplankton biomass was primarily (> 50%) composed of < 5 μm cells. The results from this study support the idea that a microbial food web characterizes mass and energy flow through the planktonic food web in Apalachicola Bay and other estuaries. During winter, the carbonxhlorophylla ratio averaged 56 ± 60 (standard deviation). During summer, the ratio ranged from 23 to 345, with highest values occurring in waters with salinity between about 8 and 22. The carbonxhlorophylla ratio was positively related to the percent of chlorophyll < 5 μm in size during summer.


Chlorophyll Phytoplankton Phytoplankton Biomass Particulate Organic Carbon Marine Ecology Progress Series 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Estuarine Research Federation 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of OceanographyFlorida State UniversityTallahassee

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