A new technique for examining the physical structure of Everglades floating periphyton mat
Donar, C.M. Condon
The embedding and thin sectioning technique we describe allows for the routine examination of the distribution and numerical abundance of algae, cyanobacteria, bacteria, and calcareous deposits within intact Everglades floating periphyton mats (FPM's) using fluorescent microscopy of cryosections. The dominant species in FPM's was a calcareous filamentous cyanobacterium, Phormidium sp., that was found throughout the whole mat but which, together with Scytonema hofmannii, had a higher abundance in the bottom layer. Small coccoid cyanobacteria, characterized the upper surface and interior regions of the mat, which was also inhabited by diatoms. Of all diatoms, Mastagloia smithii var. smithii was the most abundant. Floating periphyton mat structure is characterized by high porosity and numerous void spaces.