Estuarine coastal and shelf science vol:76 issue:4 pages:809-817
In the upper Schelde estuary in 2002, phytoplankton biomass and community composition were studied using microscopic and pigment analyses. Chlorophyll a concentration was a good predictor of phytoplankton biomass estimated from cell counts and biovolume measurements. The phytoplankton carbon to chlorophyll a ratio, however, was often unrealistically low (< 10). CHEMTAX was used to estimate the contribution of the major algal groups to total chlorophyll a. The dominant algal groups were diatoms and chlorophytes. While diatom equivalents in chlorophyll a predicted diatom biomass relatively well, chlorophyte equivalents in chlorophyll a were only weakly related to chlorophyte biomass. The pigment-based approach to study phytoplankton overestimated phytoplankton biomass in general and chlorophyte biomass in particular in late autumn and winter, when phytoplankton biomass was low. A possible explanation for this overestimation may be the presence of large amounts of vascular plant detritus in the upper Schelde estuary. Residual chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b and lutein in this detritus may result in an overestimation of total phytoplankton and chlorophyte biomass when the contribution of phytoplankton to total particulate organic matter is low. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.