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Structure and function of benthic algal communities in an extremely acid river

AutorSabater, Sergi; Buchaca, Teresa ; Cambra, J.; Catalán, Jordi; Guasch, Helena; Ivorra, N.; Muñoz, Isabel; Navarro, E. ; Real, M.; Romaní, Anna
Palabras claveHeavy metals
Acid mine drainage
Algal biomass
Algal pigments
Green algae
Fecha de publicación2003
CitaciónJournal of Phycology 93(3) : 481-489 (2003)
ResumenThe composition of algal species and pigments and the structural and functional characteristics of the algal community were investigated in an acid stream of southwestern Spain, the Río Tinto. The algal community had low diversity and showed few seasonal differences. It was mainly made up of Klebsormidium flaccidum Kütz. (Silva, Mattox & Blackwell) that produced long greenish or purplish filaments, Pinnularia acoricola Hust. (producing brown patches) and Euglena mutabilis Schmitz. The algal filaments made up a consistent biofilm that also included fungal hyphae, iron bacterial sheaths, diatoms, and mineral particles. HPLC analyses on Río Tinto samples showed that undegraded chl accounted for 67% of the total chl in the filamentous patches but were a minority in the brown patch (2.6%). The brown patch had a concentration of carotenoids eight times lower than that observed in the green patch. When chl concentrations were weighted for the proportion of the different patches on the streambed, undegraded chl a accounted for 89.2 mg chl a·m−2 of stream surface area (5.4 g C·m−2). This high algal biomass was supported by relatively high nutrient concentrations and by a high phosphatase activity (Vmax = 137.7 nmol methylumbelliferyl substrate·cm−2·h−†, Km = 0.0045 μM). The remarkable algal biomass in Río Tinto potentially contributed to the bacterial–fungal community and to the macroinvertebrate community and emphasizes the role that the algae may have in the organic matter cycling and energy flow in extreme systems dominated by heterotrophic microorganisms.
Descripción9 páginas, 6 tablas, 2 figuras.
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1529-8817.2003.02104.x
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