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Florida Lake Management Society Annual Conference, Naples, Florida, June 4 – 7, 2007

IDENTIFCATION OF COMMON PHYTOPLANKTON IN FLORIDA LAKES

John Burns and Ann Shortelle MACTEC Engineering & Consulting, Inc. Newberry, Florida

Identification of common freshwater algal taxa in lakes, rivers, ponds, and reservoirs is an important component of surface water management in Florida. Algal taxa are often used to help identify lake condition and to support biological assessments that determine if a water body meets its designated use and impairment status for 303(d) listing purposes. Algal data are also useful for developing Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL), Trophic Status, and as indicators of the overall condition of aquatic ecosystems.

Algae do not necessarily represent a formal taxonomic group of organisms and there is continued disagreement among phycologists over the exact number of algal divisions (~8-11). However, a loose collection of divisions or phyla distinguished by a combination of characteristics that include photosynthetic pigments, starch-like reserve products, cell covering, and other aspects of cellular organization are useful for classification. The number of freshwater algal genera reported in North America (>800) continues to increase and likely represent an underestimate of the region’s diversity. As of April 12, 2007, over 3,500 algal taxa have been listed in the FDEP Florida Biological Database. State-wide, Cyanobacteria tend to be one of the most frequently reported algal groups inhabiting Florida lakes, including smaller picoplankton in some highly productive waters that may have been historically overlooked.

This paper will compliment the FLMS workshop on identification of common phytoplankton in Florida lakes and will discuss various techniques and standard operating procedures for algal identification, enumeration, quality assurance, and quality control. Algal taxa information will also be discussed in regards to the utility of algae as a tool for biological assessment of Florida lakes.

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NOTES

Session 4 – Page 15

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