The phytoplankton community in Chaffey Dam, focusing on the influence of light on the growth and photophysiology of the cyanobacterium anabaena circinalis

  • Damian William Green

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This research investigated the factors influencing the structure of the phytoplanktori community in Chaffey Dam, which is located in sub-tropical Australia. In particular, the research aimed to determine the influence of light at time scales ranging from seconds to seasons, on the growth and photophysiology of the cyanobacterium Anabaena circinalis. On a large scale, field monitoring programs between 1987 and 1997 indicated that the phytoplankton community of Chaffey Dam was dominated by colonial or relatively large phytoplankton that move either with the aid of flagella or can be positively buoyant. Diatoms contributed only a minor component, which may be the result of the reservoir being stratified for much of the year. Several of the dominant taxa bloomed in each of the seasons during the eleven year period, with some blooms lasting >9 months, indicating that environmental variability between seasons can be low. In contrast to other studies, A. circinalis was more likely to grow and bloom during the cooler months (March-October). A two-year intensive monitoring program (1995-1997) identified a seasonal progression that was similar in both years. Chlorophytes occurred in spring, Ceratium in mid summer, a relatively clear period in February, A. circinalis in March and cryptomonads in winter. On a smaller scale, short-term (2-3 day) in-situ and laboratory enclosure experiments found that the light and nutrient requirements of the dominant taxa varied. In comparison to most other phytoplankton, A. circinalis cells disappeared at very rapid rates when supplied irradiances
    Date of Award2001
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorRod L. Oliver (Supervisor) & Peter CULLEN (Supervisor)

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