Changes in the Abundance and Composition of Phytoplankton in a Coastal Lagoon during Neap-Spring Tide Conditions


The objective of this work was to estimate the changes in abundance and composition of phytoplankton in a coastal lagoon in Baja California, México during neap-spring tide conditions. Sampling was conducted from the 7th to the 16th of October 2004. Surface water was collected at 18 stations distributed across the bay during day time at high tide. Also, a time series was collected at a fixed station; surface water was collected every two hours from 8:00 to 18:00. High temperatures, low salinities and low nutrient concentrations at the oceanic end indicated weak or non upwelling conditions during this period. The phytoplankton community was characterized using an inverted microscope and the chemical taxonomy program CHEMTAX, based on pigment concentration estimated by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The phytoplankton concentration was two times lower during this period than during periods of upwelling in the same year. Cryptophytes and diatoms were the most abundant groups estimated by CHEMTAX. Statistical analyses of the effect of tidal conditions on phytoplankton composition indicate that Zone A is strongly affected by tides, and that tidal effects are lessened at the inner zones. Differences in phytoplankton abundance between zones and between tidal conditions indicate that phytoplankton distribution is patchy in the lagoon.

Share and Cite:

Gracia-Escobar, M. , Millán-Núñez, R. , González-Silvera, A. , Santamaría-del-Ángel, E. , Camacho-Ibar, V. and Trees, C. (2014) Changes in the Abundance and Composition of Phytoplankton in a Coastal Lagoon during Neap-Spring Tide Conditions. Open Journal of Marine Science, 4, 80-100. doi: 10.4236/ojms.2014.42010.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] álvarez-Borrego, S. and De Munoz, S.N. (1979) Series de tiempo de fitoplancton en dos lagunas costeras de Baja California. Ciencias Marinas, 6, 1-19.
[2] Millán-Núnez, R., álvarez-Borrego, S. and Nelson, D.M. (1982) Effects of Physical Phenomena on the Distribution of Nutrients and Phytoplankton Productivity in a Coastal Lagoon. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science, 15, 317-335.
[3] Millán-Núnez, R., Millán-Núnez, E., álvarez-Borrego, S., Trees, C. and Santamaría-del-ángel, E. (2004)Variabilidad de la comunidad del fitoplancton en Bahía San Quintín estimada mediante el análisis de pigmentos. Ciencias Marinas, 30, 35-43.
[4] Montes-Hugo, M.A. and álvarez-Borrego, S. (2007) Impact of Two Decades of Shellfish Farming on Phytoplankton Biomass, Abundance and Productivity of a Coastal Lagoon Influenced by Upwelling. Hidrobiologica, 17, 213-224.
[5] Moreno-Miranda, C. (2007) Variabilidad espacial de la composición taxonómica del fitoplancton en Bahía San Quintín. Tésis de Maestría, Facultad de Ciencias Marinas, U.A.B.C., Ensenada, B.C., 81.
[6] Utermohl, H. (1958) Zur Vervollkommnung der quentitativen Phytoplankton-Methodik. Mitteilungen der International Vereinigung fur heorestische und Angewandte Limnologie, 9, 1-38.
[7] Villafane, V. and Reid, F. (1995) Métodos de microscopia para la cuantificación del fitoplancton. In: Alveal, K., Ferreiro, M.E., Oliviera, E.C. and Ferreiro, M.A., Eds., Manual de Métodos Ficológicos, Universidad de Concepción, Concepción, 169-185.
[8] Edler, L. and Elbrachter, M. (2010) The Utermohl Method for Quantitative Phytoplankton Analysis. Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO.
[9] Mackey, M.D., Mackey, D.J., Higgins, H.W. and Wright, S.W. (1996) CHEMTAX—A Program for Estimating Class Abundances from Chemical Markers: Application to HPLC Measurements of Phytoplankton. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 114, 265-283.
[10] Mackey, D.J., Higging, H.W., Mackey, M.D. and Wright, S.W. (1998) Algal Class Abundances in the Western Equatorial Pacific: Estimation from HPLC Measurements of Chloroplast Pigments Using CHEMTAX. Deep Sea Research, 45, 1141-1468.
[11] Llewellyn, C., Fishwich, J. and Blackford, J. (2005) Phytoplankton Community Assemblage in the English Channel: A Comparison Using Chlorophyll a Derived from HPLC-CHEMTAX and Carbon Derived from Microscopy Cell Counts. Journal of Plankton Research, 27, 103-119.
[12] Lara-Lara, J.R. and álvarez-Borrego, S. (1975) Ciclo anual de la clorofila y producción orgánica en la Bahía de San Quintín B.C. Ciencias Marinas, 2, 77-96.
[13] Millán-Núnez, R. and álvarez-Borrego, S. (1978) Series de tiempo de clorofilas a, b, y c, y sus feofitinas en las bocas de dos lagunas costeras. Ciencias Marinas, 5, 41-52.
[14] Barnard, J.L. (1962) Benthic Marine Exploration of the Bahia San Quintín, Baja California, 1960-1961. Pacific Naturalist, 2, 251-269.
[15] Camacho-Ibar, V.F., Hernández-Ayón, M., Santamaría-del Angel, E., Daesslé-Heusr, W. and Zertuche-González, J.A. (2007) Relaciones de la surgencias con los stocks de carbono en Bahía San Quintín, una laguna costera del NW de México. In: Hernández de la Torre, B. and Gaxiola-Castro, G., Eds., Carbono en ecosistemas acuáticos de México, INE, SEMARNAT, CICESE, México, 355-370.
[16] Lara-Lara, J.R., álvarez-Borrego, S. and Small, L.F. (1980) Variability and Tidal Exchange of Ecological Properties in a Coastal Lagoon. Estuarine and Coastal Marine Science, 2, 613-637.
[17] álvarez-Borrego, S. (2004) Dinámica de nutrientes y fitoplancton en una laguna costera fuertemente afectada por surgencias costeras. Ciencias Marinas, 30, 1-19.
[18] Ribas-Ribas, M., Hernández-Ayón, J.M., Camacho-Ibar, V.F., Cabello-Pasini, A., Mejia-Trejo, A., Durazo, R., Galindo-Bect, S., Souza, A.J., Forja, J.M. and Siqueiros-Valencia, A. (2011) Effects of Upwelling, Tides and Biological Processes on the Inorganic Carbon System of a Coastal Lagoon in Baja California. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 95, 367-376.
[19] Santamaría-del-ángel, E. (1988) Variación fitoplanctónica en Puerto Don Juan, Bahía de los ángeles, Baja California México. Tésis de Maestría en Oceanografía Costera, Facultad de Ciencias Marinas, UABC, Ensenada, 153.
[20] Bidigare, R.R. and Trees, C.C. (2000) HPLC Phytoplankton Pigments: Sampling Laboratory Methods, and Quality Assurance Procedures. In: Fargion, G.S. and Mueller, J.L., Eds., Ocean Optics Protocols for Satellite Ocean Color Sensor Validation, 2nd Revision, Goddard Sapce Flight Center, Greenbelt, 154-161.
[21] Jeffrey, S.W., Mantoura, R.F.C. and Wright, S.W. (1997) Phytoplankton Pigments in Oceanography: Guidelines and Modern Methods. UNESCO Publishing, Paris, 661.
[22] Latasa, M., Bidigare, R.R., Ondrusek, M.E. and Kennicutt II, M.C.V. (1996) HPLC Analysis of Algal Pigments: A Comparison Exercise among Laboratories and Recommendations for Improved Analytical Performance. Marine Chemistry, 51, 315-324.
[23] Lionard, M., Muylaert, K., Tackx, M. and Vyverman, W. (2008) Evaluation of the Performance of HPLC-CHEMTAX Analysis for Determining Phytoplankton Biomass and Composition in a Turbid Estuary (Schelde, Belgium). Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 76, 809-817.
[24] Gordon, L.I., Jennings, J.C., Ross, A.A. and Krest, J.M. (1993) A Suggested Protocol for Continuous Flow Automated Analysis of Seawater Nutrients (Phosphate, Nitrate, Nitrite and Silicic Acid) in the WOCE Hydrographic Program and the Joint Global Ocean Fluxes Study. WOCE Hydrographic Program Office, Methods Manual WHPO, 91-100.
[25] Armstrong, F.A., Stearns, C.R. and Strickland, J.D. (1967) The Measurement of Upwelling and Subsequent Biological Processes by Means of the Technicon Autoanalyzer and Associated Equipment. Deep-Sea Research, 14, 381-389.
[26] Bernhardt, H. and Wilhelms, A. (1967) The Continuous Determination of Low Level Iron, Soluble Phosphate and Total Phosphate with the Autoanalyzer. Technicon Symposium, 1, 386.
[27] Zaytsev, O., Cervantes-Duarte, R., Montante, O. and Gallegos-García, A. (2003) Coastal Upwelling Activity on the Pacific Shelf of the Baja California Peninsula. Journal of Oceanography, 59, 489-502.
[28] Durazo, R., Ramirez-Manguilar, A.M., Miranda, L.E. and Soto-Mardones, L.A. (2010) Climatología de variables hidrográficas. In: Gaxiola-Castro, G. and Durazo, R., Eds., Dinámica del ecosistema pelágico frente a Baja Caliofrnia, 1997-2007, SEMARNAT, INE, CICESE, UABC, Mexico, 25-57.
[29] Gaxiola-Castro, G., Cepeda-Morales, J., Najera-Martinez, S., Espinoza-Carreón, T.L., De la Cruz-Orozco, M.E., SosaAvalos, R., Aguirre-Hernández, E. and Cantú-Ontiveros, J.P. (2010) Biomas y producción del fitoplancton. In: Gaxiola-Castro, G. and Durazo, R., Eds., Dinámica del ecosistema pelágico frente a Baja California, 1997-2007, SEMARNAT, INE, CICESE, UABC, Mexico, 59-85.
[30] Bouman, H.A., Platt, T., Sathyendranath, S. and Stuart, V. (2005) Dependence of Light-Saturated Photosynthesis on Temperature and Community Structure. Deep Sea Research, 52, 1284-1299.
[31] Platt, T., Bouman, H., Devred, E., Fuentes-Yaco, C. and Sathyendranath, S. (2005) Physical Forcing and Phytoplankton Distributions. Scientia Marina, 69, 55-73.
[32] Barlow, R., Stuart, V., Lutz, V., Sessions, H., Sathyendranath, S. and Platt, T. (2007) Seasonal Pigment Patterns of Surface Phytoplankton in the Subtropical Southern Hemisphere. Deep Sea Research, 54, 1687-1703.
[33] Daesslé, L.W., Rendón-Márquez, G., Camacho-Ibar, V.F., Gutiérrez-Galindo, E., Shumilin, E. and Ortiz-Campos, E. (2009) Geochemistry of Modern Sediments from San Quintín Coastal Lagoon, Baja California: Implication for Provenance. Revista Mexicana de Ciencias Geológicas, 26, 117-132.
[34] Severin, I., Stal, L.J. (2008) Light Dependency of Nitrogen Fixation in a Coastal Cyanobacterial Mat. International Society for Microbial Ecology Journal, 2, 1077-1088.
[35] Souchu, P., Vaquer, A., Collos, Y., Landrein, S., Deslous-Paoli, J.M. and Bibent, B. (2001) Influence of Shellfish Farming Activities on the Biogeochemical Composition of the Water Column in Thau Lagoon. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 218, 141-152.
[36] Dupuy, C., Vaquer, A., Lam-Hoai, T., Rougier, C., Mazouni, N., Lautier, J., Colloc, Y. and Le Gall, S. (2000) Feeding Rate of the Oyster Crassostrea gigas in a Natural Planktonic Community of the Mediterranean Thau Lagoon. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 205, 171-184.
[37] Margalef, R. (1978) Life Forms of Phytoplankton as Survival Alternatives in an Unstable Environment. Oceanology Acta, 1, 493-509.
[38] Stal, L.J., Severin, I. and Bolhuis, H. (2010) The Ecology of Nitrogen Fixation in Cyanobacterial Mats. In: Hallenbeck, P.C., Ed., Recent Advances in Phototrophic Prokaryotes, Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, Springer New York, 31-45.
[39] Wetz, S.M., Hayes, K.C., Lewitus, A.J., Wolny, J.L. and White, D.L. (2006) Variability in Phytoplankton Pigment Biomass and Taxonomic Composition over Tidal Cycles in a Salt Marsh Estuary. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 320, 109-120.
[40] Domingues, R.B., Anselmo, T.P., Barbosa, A.B., Sommer, U. and Galvao, H.M. (2010) Tidal Variability of Phytoplankton and Environmental Drivers in the Freshwater Reaches of the Guadiana Estuary (SW Iberia). International Review of Hydrobiology, 95, 352-369.
[41] Irigoien, X., Meyer, B., Harris, R. and Harbour, D. (2004) Using HPLC Pigment Analysis to Investigate Phytoplankton Taxonomy: The Importance of Knowing Your Species. Helgol Marine Research, 58, 77-82.
[42] Rodríguez, F., Garrido, J.L., Crespo, B.G., Arbones, B. and Figueiras, F.G. (2006) Size Fractionated Phytoplankton Pigment Groups in the NW Iberian Upwelling System: Impact of the Iberian Poleward Current. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 323, 59-73.
[43] Eker-Develi, E., Berthon, J. and Van-der-Linde, D. (2008) Phytoplankton Class Determination by Microscopic and HPLC-CHEMTAX Analyses in the Southern Baltic Sea. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 359, 69-87.
[44] Hernández-Becerril, D.U., Bravo-Sierra, E. and Ramírez-Valdéz, Y. (2001) Coccolithophorids from the West Coast of Baja California, Mexico. Hydrobiologia, 452, 31-45.
[45] Lepisto, L., Holopainen, A.L. (2003) Occurrence of Cryptophyceae and Katablepharids in Boreal Lakes. Hydrobiologia, 502, 307-314.
[46] Aveytua-Alcázar, L., Camacho-Ibar, V.F., Souza, A.J., Allen, J.I. and Torres, R. (2008) Modelling Zostera marina and Ulva spp. in a Coastal Lagoon. Ecological Modeling, 218, 354-366.
[47] Jeffrey, S.W., Wright, S.W. and Zapata, M. (1999) Recent Advances in HPLC Pigment Analysis of Phytoplankton. Marine Freshwater Research, 50, 879-896.
[48] Zertuche-González, J.A., Camacho-Ibar, V.F., Pacheco-Ruíz, I., Cabello-Pasini, A., Galindo-Bect, L., Guzmán-Calderón, J., Macias-Carranza, V. and Espinoza-Avalos, J. (2009) The Role of Ulva spp. As a Temporary Nutrient Sink in a Coastal Lagoon with Oyster Cultivation and Upwelling Influence. Journal Applied Phycology, 21, 729-736.
[49] Poumian-Tapia, M. and Ibarra-Obando, S. (1999) Demography and Biomass of the Seagrass Zostera marina in a Mexican Coastal Lagoon. Estuaries, 22, 879-889.

Copyright © 2021 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.