Spatial and seasonal variation of microphytoplankton community and the correlation with environmental parameters in a hypereutrophic tropical estuary - Maranhão - Brazil

Abstract The Bacanga River Estuary has a hydrodynamic behavior and its tidal flow is limited by a dam. It is considered as a hypertrophic environment that receives daily high loads of domestic sewage without treatment. This study aimed to evaluate the spatial and temporal variation of phytoplankton community and its relationship with environmental parameters. Bi-monthly sampling campaigns were carried out at six fixed sites between 2012 and 2013. Physical-chemical and biological parameters were collected (chlorophyll a, phytoplankton composition and abundance) to perform the statistical correlations. The results indicate that phytoplankton community is mostly represented by diatoms, with Skeletonema costatum being the dominant species responsible for bloom in April and June of 2012. The dominance of this species is related to the high silicate concentrations, pH and turbidity. Other blooms events as well as the Euglena gracilis and Chlamydomonas sp. were recorded in February 2013, when the total phosphorus concentrations were high and the dissolved oxygen concentrations were higher. Dinoflagellates, cyanobacteria and diatom Thallassiosira sp. were widely distributed in the dry period and highly correlated with salinity, water transparency and nutrients. Hence, the distribution of phytoplankton community is more defined seasonally, rather than spatially.