Periphyton dynamics in a subalpine mountain stream during winter

Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research
By:  and 


  • The Publications Warehouse does not have links to digital versions of this publication at this time
  • Download citation as: RIS | Dublin Core


We conducted two experiments to determine the activity of and factors which control periphyton during winter in Stevensville Brook, Vermont. The first experiment during winter/spring 1994 examined the effect of a 300 to 450% difference in light and doubling of flow (low and high light, slow and fast flow) on periphyton chlorophyll a (chl a) and ash-free dry mass (AFDM) from stream rocks and artificial substrata. A second experiment was performed to determine whether periphyton was nitrogen or phosphorus limited. In addition, stream water was sampled during fall/winter 1994/95 for nitrate (NO3), ammonia (NH4), soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP), and total phosphorus (TP) to determine the availability of nutrients in Stevensville Brook. Increases of up to 250% for AFDM and 600% for chl a during the first study indicated robust activity throughout the winter despite low temperatures and light. Flow had a negative effect and sampling date was found to have a significant effect on periphyton biomass (chl a and AFDM) while light was found to influence increases in AFDM on clay tiles only. Water analyses showed that SRP was less than 0.001 mg L-1, NH4 and TP were low and often undetectable, and NO3 remained at about 0.20 mg L-1. Results from the nutrient enrichment experiment showed a significant response of chl a to P but not N and no response of AFDM to enrichment with either N or P. In Stevensville Brook during winter, the algal community, as represented by the chl a concentration, is predominantly controlled by phosphorus concentrations and is influenced to a lesser extent by flow; the periphyton community as a whole, represented by AFDM, is controlled mostly by stream flow and light.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Periphyton dynamics in a subalpine mountain stream during winter
Series title Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research
Volume 32
Issue 2
Year Published 2000
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research
First page 127
Last page 134
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional metadata about this publication, not found in other parts of the page is in this table