We collected samples monthly, from April to August 1998, to measure the abundance of autotrophic picoplankton in San Francisco Bay. Samples taken along a 160-km transect showed that picocyanobacteria (Synechococcus sp.) was a persistent component of the San Francisco Bay phytoplankton in all the estuarine habitats, from freshwater to seawater and during all months of the spring-summer transition. Abundance ranged from 4.6 X 106 to 5.2 X 108 cells L-1, with peak abundance during the spring bloom (April and May) and during July with a persistent spatial pattern of smallest abundance near the coastal ocean and highest abundance in the landward domains of the estuary. The picocyanobacterial component (as estimated percentage of chlorophyll a concentration) was, on average, 15% of total phytoplankton biomass during the summer-autumn nonbloom periods and only 2% of chlorophyll biomass during the spring bloom. This result is consistent with the emerging concept of a gradient of increasing importance of picocyanobacteria along the gradient of decreasing nutrient concentrations from estuaries to the open ocean.
Additional publication details
Spatial and temporal variability of picocyanobacteria Synechococcus sp. in San Francisco Bay