Algal Community Habitat Preferences in Old Woman Creek Wetland, Erie County, Ohio
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Citation:The Ohio Journal of Science, v108, n5 (December, 2008), 95-102.
Algal communities were examined from May through August 1993 in Old Woman Creek National Estuarine Research Reserve and State Natural Area and Preserve, a shallow (<0.5 meter deep) 56 ha hypereutrophic wetland, located in Erie County along the south-central shore of Lake Erie. Most of the wetland is open water; the dominant macrophyte, Nelumbo lutea, covers about 30% of the surface area. Therefore, open water algae can be the primary autotroph contributing to the wetland’s energy flow. Inflow regions are the primary collector of watershed agricultural runoff, and therefore have greater concentrations of nutrients than waters closer to Lake Erie. We did not find any difference in phytoplankon diversity between the sites near the inflow compared to sites closer to Lake Erie (the outflow). In general, half the biovolume of phytoplankton was composed of diatoms, and one-third euglenophytes. Average algal volumes of the back sites (9.01 x 106 μm3/ml) were higher than the front sites (5.92 x 106 μm3/ml). Periphyton diversity was slightly higher near the inflow. Periphyton growing on artificial substrate had about five times greater biovolume than phytoplankton; however, periphyton inverse Simpson diversity was about half of nearby phytoplankton. All sites were dominated by green algae and euglenophytes by number of individuals. Diatoms dominated under Nelumbo lutea; euglenophytes and small green algae dominated in turbid open-water regions. We suggest that light, the presence of aquatic vegetation, and hydrologic dynamics may be more important to determining the community structure in this wetland than nutrient concentrations or interspecific competition.
Author Institution: Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Morehead State University