TCBES M.S. Program Seminar - Event Details

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TCBES M.S. Program Seminar

Location: Wentworth 9

Submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) modifies distributions of phytoplankton and bacteria along the west coast of Hawai`i Island

Jason Adolf, Marine Science, UH Hilo

Groundwater generates a continuum of nutrient-enriched habitats on Hawai`i Island, including fish ponds, lagoons, and brackish coastal surface plumes. We studied the distributions of phytoplankton and bacteria at two sites with high SGD, Kiholo Bay and Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park. We hypothesized that the microorganism distributions would reflect inorganic nutrient enrichment, showing elevated biomass and average cell size where SGD influence was present. Phytoplankton biomass was low in the ocean at both sites, but elevated 10 – 100 fold within adjacent fish ponds, with average cell size in ponds larger than in the adjacent ocean. Surface phytoplankton and bacterial distributions differed between the sites, with Kiholo showing low phytoplankton and bacterial abundance near the SGD source, and elevated phytoplankton biomass and average cell size at brackish salinities. Surface phytoplankton and bacterial distribution at Kaloko primarily reflected export from the fish pond. Site-specific characteristics appear to be important modifiers of the responses of microorganisms to nutrients observed at each site. Future research should include consideration of how these responses at the microorganism level impact the broader ecosystem.

For more on the TCBES Graduate Program, visit: tcbes.uhh.hawaii.edu

For more information, contact: estacy@hawaii.edu 8089327715

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