Nutrient Bioassays of Growth Parameters for Algae in the North Bosque River of Central Texas1

Authors

  • Jimmy S. Millican,

    1. (Millican and McFarland), Senior Research Associate, Research Scientist, Texas Institute for Applied Environmental Research, Tarleton State University, Stephenville, Texas 76402
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  • Jeffrey A. Back,

    1. (Back) Graduate Research Assistant, Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems Research, Department of Biology, Baylor University, One Bear Place #97388, Waco, Texas 76798-7388.
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  • Anne M.S. McFarland

    1. (Millican and McFarland), Senior Research Associate, Research Scientist, Texas Institute for Applied Environmental Research, Tarleton State University, Stephenville, Texas 76402
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  • 1

    Paper No. JAWRA-07-0066-P of the Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA). Discussions are open until February 1, 2009.

(E-Mail/McFarland: mcfarla@tiaer.tarleton.edu)

Abstract

Abstract:  Nutrient dose-response bioassays were conducted using water from three sites along the North Bosque River. These bioassays provided support data for refinement of the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model used in the development of two phosphorus TMDLs for the North Bosque River. Test organisms were native phytoplanktonic algae and stock cultured Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata (Korshikov) Hindak. Growth was measured daily by in vivo fluorescence. Algal growth parameters for maximum growth (μmax) and half-saturation constants for nitrogen (KN) or phosphorus (KP) were determined by fitting maximum growth rates associated with each dose level to a Monod growth rate function. Growth parameters of native algae were compared between locations and to growth parameters of P. subcapitata and literature values. No significant differences in half-saturation constants were indicated within nutrient treatment for site or algal type. Geometric mean KN was 32 μg/l and for KP 7 μg/l. A significant difference was detected in maximum growth rates between algae types but not between sites or nutrient treatments. Mean μmax was 1.5/day for native algae and 1.2/day for stock algae. These results indicate that watershed-specific maximum growth rates may need to be considered when modeling algal growth dynamics with regard to nutrients.

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