Spatiotemporal associations of reservoir nutrient characteristics and the invasive, harmful alga Prymnesium parvum in West Texas

Journal of the American Water Resources Association
By: , and 

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Abstract

Golden alga (Prymnesium parvum) is a harmful alga that has caused ecological and economic harm in freshwater and marine systems worldwide. In inland systems of North America, toxic blooms have nearly eliminated fish populations in some systems. Modifying nutrient profiles through alterations to land or water use may be a viable alternative for golden alga control in reservoirs. The main objective of this study was to improve our understanding of the nutrient dynamics that influence golden alga bloom formation and toxicity in west Texas reservoirs. We examined eight sites in the Upper Colorado River basin, Texas: three impacted reservoirs that have experienced repeated golden alga blooms; two reference reservoirs where golden alga is present but nontoxic; and three confluence sites downstream of the impacted and reference sites. Total, inorganic, and organic nitrogen and phosphorus and their ratios were quantified monthly along with golden alga abundance and ichthyotoxicity between December 2010 and July 2011. Blooms persisted for several months at the impacted sites, which were characterized by high organic nitrogen and low inorganic nitrogen. At impacted sites, abundance was positively associated with inorganic phosphorus and bloom termination coincided with increases in inorganic nitrogen and decreases in inorganic phosphorus in late spring. Management of both inorganic and organic forms of nutrients may create conditions in reservoirs unfavorable to golden alga.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Spatiotemporal associations of reservoir nutrient characteristics and the invasive, harmful alga Prymnesium parvum in West Texas
Series title Journal of the American Water Resources Association
DOI 10.1111/jawr.12261
Volume 51
Issue 2
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher American Water Resources Association
Publisher location Herndon, VA
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Atlanta
Description 15 p.
First page 487
Last page 501
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N