Nutrients, Eutrophic Response, and Fish Anomalies in the Little Miami River, Ohio

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We documented the eutrophic and chemical environment in the Little Miami River (LMR) to better understand the interaction between eutrophication, eutrophic response variables, and the health of aquatic organisms. Total phosphorus (TP) and soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP), nitrogen, dissolved oxygen (DO), benthic and sestonic algal biomass, benthic phosphorus storage, aqueous trace metals (Cd, Cr, Cu, Se, Zn), heavy metals (Al, Fe, Mn) and major cations (Ca, K, Mg, Na, Si) were analyzed at twelve sites over two summers. Results showed excess TP (>70 ug/L, p <0.05) and SRP (≥62.5 ug/L, p <0.05), borderline nuisance benthic algal biomass (mg/L chlorophyll a/m2) (periphyton: mean = 73.8 +/- 74.2, n = 125; Cladophora: mean = 216.7 +/- 380.7, n = 54), excess benthic phosphorus storage (mg P/m2) (periphyton: mean = 45.5 +/- 23.2, n = 64; Cladophora: mean = 129.3 +/- 224, n = 52), and high daytime DO (mean = 9.1 +/- 1.5 mg/L, n = 132). Previous studies showed aqueous phosphorus concentration and diurnal DO swings were positively correlated with fish anomalies (OEPA 1995, 2000). In this study, however, periphyton phosphorus (P) was the only eutrophic response variable to correlate with the distribution of fish anomalies reported by OEPA in 1995 and 2000, and the association was negative (R2 = 0.143, p = 0.002, m = -1.634, df = 1, 62). We concluded that aqueous nutrients, eutrophic response variables, and/or water chemistry alone did not explain the occurrence of fish anomalies in the LMR.


Author Institution: Dept of Biological Sciences, Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, KY
Author Institution: University of Cincinnati, Dept of Biological Sciences, Cincinnati, OH



The Ohio Journal of Science, v106, n4 (September, 2006), 146-155.