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1 June 2010 Biomarkers of Algal Populations in Phytoplankton, Filamentous Algae, and Sediments from the Eastern Basin of Lake Erie 2003–2005
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Algal carotenoids (n:16) and chlorophylls (n:7) were determined in phytoplankton (n:60), filamentous algae (n:14) and sediments (n:44), collected from two nearshore sites in eastern Lake Erie (Van Buren Point (VBP), 6.5 m; Point Gratiot (PG), 17 m), during summer and fall of 2003, 2004 and 2005. The most prominent biomarkers for diatoms (fucoxanthin), cryptophytes (alloxanthin), chlorophytes (chlorophyll-b) and cyanobacteria (zeaxanthin) revealed temporal variations in phytoplankton community composition, which were correlated to water temperatures: i) seasonal succession, from diatoms with some cryptophytes in June (cool), to an increased percentage of chlorophytes and cyanobacteria in August and September (warm); ii) differences between 2004 (cool; cryptophytes more abundant) and 2005 (warm; chlorophytes more abundant). Filamentous algae (chlorophytes, epiphytic diatoms; some cyanobacteria) varied in condition, according to levels of chl-a, pheopigments, and class biomarkers: high, at VBP (growing; decaying; bont/E suspect); low, at PG (mostly dead). Relative to phytoplankton, sediments were depleted in several biomarkers (chl-a; diadino-, neo- and violaxanthin) but enriched with others, particularly at PG (pheopigments; diatoxanthin; canthaxanthin, echinenone; alloxanthin). Sediment composition was characterized by strong differences between sites (chl-a, chl-b and fucoxanthin nearly 10-fold greater at VBP than PG) and increasing accumulation of biomarkers from year-to-year. A linear log-log function, relating total carotenoids to total chlorophylls (intercept -0.516, slope 1.054, r2 0.96), implied increased biodegradation among specimen types: levels of pigments (pmol/g ww) decreased three orders of magnitude, from phytoplankton, through filamentous algae, to sediments. Deviation from a 1:1 relationship indicated 1.7-fold depletion of carotenoids relative to chlorophylls at mid-range.

© 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Monika Sobiechowska, Maxime Bridoux, Ana Helena Ferreira Ferreira, Alicia Perez-Fuentetaja, and Katherine T. Alben "Biomarkers of Algal Populations in Phytoplankton, Filamentous Algae, and Sediments from the Eastern Basin of Lake Erie 2003–2005," Journal of Great Lakes Research 36(2), (1 June 2010).
Received: 5 May 2009; Accepted: 1 December 2009; Published: 1 June 2010

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