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The importance of weather and tides on the resuspension and deposition of microphytobenthos (MPB) on intertidal mudflats

Redzuan, Nurul Shahida and Underwood, Graham JC (2021) 'The importance of weather and tides on the resuspension and deposition of microphytobenthos (MPB) on intertidal mudflats.' Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 251. ISSN 0272-7714

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Abstract

Abiotic variables, such as weather and tidal forces, are potentially as important as biotic factors (growth, predation, competition) in driving the variability of microphytobenthic (MPB) biomass on intertidal flats. Patterns of spatial distribution and temporal variability in MPB Chl. a, sediment Extracellular Polymeric Substances (EPS) and benthic diatom species composition were investigated during daily sampling spanning neap to spring tide periods on intertidal mudflats in the Colne Estuary, U.K., in three different seasons, with a particular focus on the influence of wind, rainfall, sun hours in the days prior to sampling, and tidal range. Spatial distribution (at < 1 m and <5 m scales) made the greatest contribution to biomass variability, followed by temporal (inter-monthly) variability. MPB Chl. a and EPS concentrations were positively correlated with sun-hours and tidal range, and negatively with rainfall and wind speed. Higher benthic MPB biomass was associated with lower suspended solid and Chl a loads, indicating biostabilisation of surface sediment. Suspended sediment loads and suspended Chl. a concentrations were positively correlated, and were significantly higher during neap rather than spring tides. Sediment settlement rates were higher during neap tides and related to suspended sediment load. The percent similarity in the benthic and suspended diatom assemblages (species relative abundance, RA) increased linearly with suspended solid load, with highest similarity during neap tides, with pennate benthic diatom taxa (Gyrosigma balticum, G. scalproides and Pleurosigma angulatum) dominant, indicating local sediment resuspension. During Spring tides, species similarity was lower, with a higher RA of planktonic centric diatoms (Actinoptychus, Coscinodiscus and Odontella) and lower sediment loads. Despite greater volumes of water movement during high tidal range periods, the highest levels of localised resuspension and remobilisation of MPB biomass across the mudflats occurred during low tidal range neap tide periods, when wind-induced waves were a key factor, particularly with shallower water depths over the intertidal mudflats.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Intertidal mudflat, Diatom, Sediment-water column exchanges, Suspended Chl a, Suspended sediment, Biostabilisation, Abiotic factors
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Life Sciences, School of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2021 09:13
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2021 09:13
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/29879

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