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Relation of algal biomass to characteristics of selected streams in the Lower Susquehanna River basin

Water-Resources Investigations Report 98-4144

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Abstract

Seven small tributary streams with drainage areas ranging from 12.6 to 71.9 square miles, representative of both limestone and freestone settings, in the Lower Susquehanna River Basin were sampled for algae, nutrients, water quality, habitat, land use, hydrology, fish, and invertebrates. Nutrients, site characteristics, and selected characteristics of the invertebrate and fish communities known to influence algal growth were compared to chlorophyll a concentrations. Nitrogen was not found limiting in these streams; however, phosphorus may have been limiting in five of the seven streams. Concentrations of chlorophyll a in riffles increased with the degree of open canopy and as bottom substrate reached the gravel/cobble size fraction. These increased chlorophyll a concentrations and the substrate size in turn raised the levels of dissolved oxygen in the streams. Freestone streams had increased chlorophyll a concentrations associated with increases in percentage of omnivorous fish and in pH and decreases in percentage of collector/gatherer invertebrates. Concentrations of chlorophyll a in limestone riffles decreased as the percentage of omnivorous fish increased. Depositional chlorophyll a concentrations increased as the Bank Stability Index decreased and as the riffle velocity increased. Depositional chlorophyll a concentrations increased in limestone streams as collector/gatherer invertebrates increased and as phosphorus concentrations decreased. No relations were seen between chlorophyll a concentrations and land-use characteristics of the basin.

In this study, there were too few sampling sites to establish statistically based relations between algal biomass and nutrient concentrations. Further study is needed to generate data suitable for statistical interpretation.

Suggested Citation

Brightbill, R.A., and Bilger, M.D., 1998, Relation of algal biomass to characteristics of selected streams in the Lower Susquehanna River basin: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 1998–4144, 18 p., https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/wri984144.

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • The Lower Susquehanna River Basin study
  • Study methods
  • Relation of algal biomass to stream characteristics
  • Summary 
  • References cited 

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Relation of algal biomass to characteristics of selected streams in the Lower Susquehanna River basin
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
98-4144
Year Published:
1998
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Pennsylvania Water Science Center
Description:
v, 18 p.