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Phytoplankton pigments and functional community structure in relation to environmental factors in the Pearl River Estuary

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Two cruises were undertaken in the Pearl River Estuary in November 2011 and March 2012 to analyze the distribution of phytoplankton pigments and to define the relationships of pigment indices and functional community structure with environmental factors. Among 22 pigments, 17 were detected by high-performance liquid chromatography. Chlorophyll a was found in all samples, with a maximum of 7.712 μg L-1 in spring. Fucoxanthin was the most abundant accessory pigment, with mean concentrations of 2.914 μg L-1 and 0.207 μg L-1 in spring and autumn, respectively. Chlorophyll a, chlorophyll c2, fucoxanthin, diadinoxanthin, and diatoxanthin were high in the northern or northwest estuary in spring and in the middle-eastern and northeast estuary in autumn. Chlorophyll b, chlorophyll c3, prasinoxanthin, and peridinin were similarly distributed during the two cruises. Chlorophyll a and fucoxanthin positively correlated with nutrients in spring, whereas 19′-hex-fucoxanthin and 19′-but-fucoxanthin negatively correlated. The biomass proportion of microphytoplankton (BPm) was higher in spring, whereas that of picophytoplankton (BPp) was higher in autumn. BPm in spring was high in areas with salinity <30, but BPp and the biomass proportion of nanophytoplankton (BPn) were high in areas with salinity >30. BPm increased but BPn reduced with the increase in nutrient contents. By comparison, BPp reduced with the increase in nutrient contents in spring, but no relationship was found between BPp and nutrient contents in autumn. The ratios of photosynthetic carotenoids to photoprotective carotenoids in the southern estuary approached unity linear relationship in spring and were under the unity line in autumn.
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Bibliogr. 54 poz., tab., wykr., mapy
  • Qingdao Engineering Research Center for Rural Environment, Qingdao Agricultural University, Qingdao, China
  • Key Laboratory of Sustainable Development of Marine Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture, Yellow Sea Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, Qingdao, China
  • Key Laboratory of Sustainable Development of Marine Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture, Yellow Sea Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, Qingdao, China,
  • Research Center for Harmful Algae and Marine Biology, Jinan University, Guangzhou, China
  • College of Life Sciences, Qingdao Agricultural University, Qingdao, China
  • Research Center for Harmful Algae and Marine Biology, Jinan University, Guangzhou, China
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