STUDIES OF PERIPHYTIC ALGAE ON ALGAL TURF SCRUBBERS<sup>TM</sup> ALONG THE CHESAPEAKE BAY: COMMUNITY STRUCTURE, SYSTEMATICS, AND INFLUENCING FACTORS
Laughinghouse, Haywood Dail
Kangas, Patrick C
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This is an ecological and systematic study of periphytic algae growing in an ecologically-engineered system used for water quality improvement: the Algal Turf Scrubber or ATS<super>TM</super>. This technology consists of an attached algal community growing on screens in a shallow floway through which water is pumped. The study was conducted on small-scale, experimental floways at three sites within the Chesapeake Bay watershed: on the Susquehanna River in southeastern Pennsylvania (freshwater) and on the Great Wicomico and York Rivers in Virginia (brackish water). A total of 330 taxa were identified at the sites from 2008-2011. The majority of taxa at all three sites belonged to the phylum Bacillariophyta, but a large number of taxa from Chlorophyta and, to a lesser degree, Cyanobacteria were also found at the freshwater site. Algae found in the ATS<super>TM</super> exhibited a diversity of life forms and modes of attachment within the community. Although these system appear to be dominated by a "canopy" of attached, filamentous species, more than half of the total abundance (cell density) were solitary, unattached taxa that grow as an "understory" within the three dimensional structure of the community. Longitudinal patterns were examined on the longest floways (90 m long) at the freshwater site. The community nutrient uptake rate (mass of nitrogen or phosphorus m<super>-2</super> day<super>-1</super>) for the harvested algal biomass was found to decline from the top to the bottom of the floway for a system constructed at 2% slope but no distinct pattern was found for a system constructed at 1% slope. The majority of algal taxa were evenly distributed along the floway from top to the bottom, in terms of frequency of occurrence, suggesting a general lack of longitudinal specialization within the community. A detailed review of the systematics of the Order Oscillatoriales (Cyanobacteria) found on the ATS<super>TM</super> was undertaken since this group has not been studied much in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Twenty-four taxa were examined, described morphologically and their nomenclature reviewed. Comparing 16s rRNA gene analyses of planktonic and periphytic <italic>Pseudanabaena</italic>, it was suggested that periphytic <italic>Pseudanabaena</italic> be revised and elevated to a new genus, <italic>Ilyonema</italic>.