Short and long hydroperiod Everglades periphyton mats: Community characterization and experimental hydroperiod manipulation

Andrew David Gottlieb, Florida International University


Hydroperiod, or the distribution, duration and timing of flooding affects both plant and animal distributions. The Florida Everglades is currently undergoing restoration that will result in altered hydroperiods. This study was conducted in Everglades National Park to document the variability in periphyton community structure and function between long and short hydroperiod Everglades marshes. Periphyton is an important primary producer and important food resource in the Everglades. Periphyton is also involved in marl soil formation and nutrient cycling. Although periphyton is an important component of the Everglades landscape, little is known about periphyton structural-functional variation between hydroperiods. For this study diatoms, as well as fresh algae slides of diatoms, cyanobacteria and green algae were identified and enumerated. Short verse long hydroperiod soil and water column nutrients were compared. Short and long hydroperiod algal periphyton mat productivity rates were compared using BOD incubations. Experimental manipulations were performed to determine the effects of desiccation duration and rewetting on periphyton productivity, community structure, and nutrient flux. Variation in periphyton community structure was significantly greater between hydroperiods than within hydroperiods. Short and long hydroperiod periphyton mats have the same algal species, it is the distribution and abundance that varies between hydroperiods. Long hydroperiod mats have greater diatom abundance while short hydroperiod mats have greater relative filamentous cyanobacterial abundance. Long hydroperiod mats had greater net primary production (npp) than short hydroperiod mats. Short hydroperiod mats respond to rewetting more rapidly than do long hydroperiod mats. Dry short hydroperiod mats became net primary producers within 24 hours of rehydration. Increasing desiccation duration led to greater cyanobacterial abundance in long hydroperiod mats and decreased diatom abundance in both long and short hydroperiod mats.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Gottlieb, Andrew David, "Short and long hydroperiod Everglades periphyton mats: Community characterization and experimental hydroperiod manipulation" (2003). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3110363.