Image_7_Temporal Stability of Phytoplankton Functional Groups Within Two Agricultural Irrigation Ponds in Maryland, USA.JPEG (1.41 MB)
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Image_7_Temporal Stability of Phytoplankton Functional Groups Within Two Agricultural Irrigation Ponds in Maryland, USA.JPEG

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posted on 01.11.2021, 04:42 by Jaclyn E. Smith, Jennifer L. Wolny, Matthew D. Stocker, Robert L. Hill, Yakov A. Pachepsky

Phytoplankton functional groups and their influence on water quality have been studied in various types of water bodies but have yet to be studied in agricultural irrigation ponds. Freshwater sources (e.g., lakes, rivers, and reservoirs) have been previously shown to exhibit high spatial and temporal variability in phytoplankton populations. Improvements in the monitoring of phytoplankton populations may be achieved if patterns of stable spatial variability can be found in the phytoplankton populations through time. The objective of this work was to determine if temporally stable spatial patterns in phytoplankton communities could be detected in agricultural irrigation ponds using a functional group approach. The study was performed at two working agricultural irrigation ponds located in Maryland, USA over two summer sampling campaigns in 2017 and 2018. Concentrations of four phytoplankton groups, along with sensor-based and fluorometer based water quality parameters were measured. Temporal stability was assessed using mean relative differences between measurements in each location and averaged measurements across ponds on each sampling date. Temporally stable spatial patterns of three phytoplankton functional groups were found for both ponds over the two sampling seasons. Both ponds had locations where specific phytoplankton functional group concentrations were consistently higher or lower than the pond's average concentration for each sampling date. Zones of consistently higher or lower than average concentrations were associated with flow conditions, pond morphology, and human activities. The existence of temporally stable patterns of phytoplankton functional group concentrations can affect the outcome of a water quality assessment and should be considered in water quality monitoring designs.

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