Phytoplankton composition and the range of seasonal patterns of abundance are presented for the tidal freshwater regions in two Virginia rivers based on data accumulated monthly from 1986 through 1999. Diatoms dominated the flora during spring, summer, and fall, whereas, other taxonomic categories were more representative when the river flow rates decreased, allowing for a more stable water system and increased residency time within this tidal region during summer and early fall. This summer/fall period was associated with increased water temperatures, higher productivity rates and chlorophyll levels, increased total phytoplankton abundance and species diversity. The major components of the summer flora were autotrophic picoplankton, chlorophytes, and cyanobacteria. Mean, maximum, and minimum monthly abundance figures are given for the different phytoplankton categories, and total phytoplankton biomass and abundance, over this 13-year period. Although one station showed considerable influx of oligohaline water into its tidal freshwater region during sampling, no significant relationships were associated with phytoplankton biomass or productivity to these changing salinities.

For article, see: http://digitalcommons.odu.edu/biology_fac_pubs/92/