Cluster analysis of phytoplankton data collected from the National Stream Quality Accounting Network in the Tennessee River basin, 1974-81

Water-Resources Investigations Report 86-4029




A computer program, Numerical Taxonomy System of Multivariate Statistical Programs (NTSYS), was used with interfacing software to perform cluster analyses of phytoplankton data stored in the biological files of the U.S. Geological Survey. The NTSYS software performs various types of statistical analyses and is capable of handling a large matrix of data. Cluster analyses were done on phytoplankton data collected from 1974 to 1981 at four national Stream Quality Accounting Network stations in the Tennessee River basin. Analysis of the changes in clusters of phytoplankton genera indicated possible changes in the water quality of the French Broad River near Knoxville, Tennessee. At this station, the most common diatom groups indicated a shift in dominant forms with some of the less common diatoms being replaced by green and blue-green algae. There was a reduction in genera variability between 1974-77 and 1979-81 sampling periods. Statistical analysis of chloride and dissolved solids confirmed that concentrations of these substances were smaller in 1974-77 than in 1979-81. At Pickwick Landing Dam, the furthest downstream station used in the study, there was an increase in the number of genera of ' rare ' organisms with time. The appearance of two groups of green and blue-green algae indicated that an increase in temperature or nutrient concentrations occurred from 1974 to 1981, but this could not be confirmed using available water quality data. Associations of genera forming the phytoplankton communities at three stations on the Tennessee River were found to be seasonal. Nodal analysis of combined data from all four stations used in the study did not identify any seasonal or temporal patterns during 1974-81. Cluster analysis using the NYSYS programs was effective in reducing the large phytoplankton data set to a manageable size and provided considerable insight into the structure of phytoplankton communities in the Tennessee River basin. Problems encountered using cluster analysis were the subjectivity introduced in the definition of meaningful clusters, and the lack of taxonomic identification to the species level. (Author 's abstract)

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Cluster analysis of phytoplankton data collected from the National Stream Quality Accounting Network in the Tennessee River basin, 1974-81
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Water-Resources Investigations Report
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U.S. Geological Survey,
v, 48 p. :ill., map ;28 cm. +2 folded plates in pocket.