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Ecological Section

Major, C. Smoot [1], Major, Kelly [1].

The Distribution And Diversity Of Aquatic Plants In The Mobile-Tensaw Delta.

Despite the importance of the Delta as a natural filter, sedimentation trap and habitat for rare plant and animal communities, we know very little about the biocomplexity that defines this ecosystem. This work was meant to serve as a pilot study for the reconnaissance and physicochemical description of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta. Specific emphasis was placed on the examination of spatial and temporal variations in physicochemical parameters (e.g., pH, salinity, dissolved oxygen, nutrient concentrations, etc.) and land use categories (e.g., human habitat, forestry and industry) as they relate to and/or define aquatic plant abundance, distribution and community structure. Because this project specifically targeted areas characterized by anthropogenic disturbance, site selection was deliberately relegated to impacted regions. However, nine permanent sampling stations were then haphazardly chosen within these high impact areas (i.e., North, above I65; South, in and around Bay Minette; Central, around Gravine Island). Thus far, we have identified 86 plant taxa from 54 families, with highest diversity exhibited in southern stations. Southern stations were characterized by consistently lower annual values for pH, dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) and Chlorophyll-a (Chl) concentrations relative to northern and control plots. Environmental parameters did not vary significantly among North and Central sites. Of the many physical and chemical parameters measured, aside from the overt effect of seasonal water temperature on plant abundance, pH, nutrient concentration, algal abundance and turbidity appear to be driving aquatic plant distribution and diversity [or lack thereof] in this system.

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1 - University of South Alabama, Biological Sciences, Life Sciences Building #124, 307 University Blvd. North, Mobile, Alabama, 36688, USA

plant distributions.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 47-2
Location: Salon F - Austin Grand Ballroom/Hilton
Date: Wednesday, August 17th, 2005
Time: 10:30 AM
Abstract ID:236

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