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Spatio-temporal patterns and predictions of size-fractionated chlorophyll a in a large subtropical river, China

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  • Jinhui Sun, Tianjin Agricultural University
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  • Weiwei Li, Tianjin Agricultural University, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences
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  • Naicheng Wu, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University
  • ,
  • Zini Lai, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences
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  • Wanlin Du, Tianjin Agricultural University, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences
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  • Huijuan Jia, Shanghai Ocean University
  • ,
  • Dayan Ge, Shanghai Ocean University
  • ,
  • Chao Wang, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences

Spatio-temporal patterns in chlorophyll a (Chl-a) from size-fractionated phytoplankton were examined in the Pearl River (PR), China, during 2015 and 2016. The concentration of total Chl-a was a good indicator of spatial patterns, since it increased along a nutrient gradient. A nonmetric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) model showed clearly a spatial pattern in the distribution of size-fractionated Chl-a, dividing the study area into three groups of sampling sites. The three groups represented sites at the West River (G1), the central Pearl River Delta (G2) and the Guangzhou City center (G3). Temporal changes in physicochemical factors among the three groups were not obvious. And the Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA) model showed G1 and G2 were mostly explained by physical factors, G3 was closely associated with chemical factors. The potential of using size-fractionated Chl-a data as an indicator of water quality was compared using two other size-based methods; the morphological traits of the algae Aulacoseira granulata and using functional groups (FGs) combined with trait-based (algae volume) classifications of benthic diatoms. Our study indicated that size-based methods of phytoplankton research could make a useful contribution to determine spatio-temporal patterns in the studied area, providing greater insight into phytoplankton dynamics and enabling better managements of water quality.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Freshwater Ecology
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • Chlorophyll a, diatom, Pearl River, phytoplankton, size-based method

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