Original paper

Spatio-temporal patterns and predictions of phytoplankton assemblages in a subtropical river delta system

Wang, Chao; Li, Xinhui; Wang, Xiangxiu; Wu, Naicheng; Yang, Wanling; Lai, Zini; Lek, Sovan

Fundamental and Applied Limnology Volume 187 Nr. 4 (2016), p. 335 - 349

published: Mar 1, 2016

DOI: 10.1127/fal/2016/0866

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Spatial and seasonal sampling within a subtropical river delta system, the Pearl River Delta (China), provided data to determine seasonal phytoplankton patterns and develop prediction models. The high nutrient levels and frequent water exchanges resulted in a phytoplankton community with greatest diversity of Bacillariophyceae and Chlorophyceae, and greatest biomass of Bacillariophyceae. Spatial and temporal distributions of phytoplankton assemblages were revealed using non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS). Five groups were established using hierarchical clustering based on species biomass similarities. These groups were distinct with respect to species richness, biomass and indicators, especially for groups representing spatial dimension. The Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA) model indicated that the spatial patterns of phytoplankton assemblages were mostly explained by water quality variables (TP, Si, DO and transparency). As for temporal patterns, only water temperature had a weak impact on diversity composition. Moreover, we test the following hypotheses: Do anthropogenic activities impact the spatial and temporal patterns of phytoplankton in this area? Do spatial or temporal patterns dominate? Are physical or chemical factors determining the above patterns in this area? We conclude that the spatial-temporal patterns of phytoplankton in the PRD are closely associated with eutrophication levels caused by anthropogenic activities. The spatial patterns are apparently dominant in this area, and chemical factors are mainly responsible for the above results.


pearl river deltaenvironmentsspatial and temporal patternnon-metric multidimensional scaling (nmds)phytoplankton