How to Use Stream Algae for Bioassessment Betty Fetscher, Biology Dept. 2012 Symposium

How to Use Stream Algae
for Bioassessment
Betty Fetscher, Biology Dept.
2012 Symposium
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Goals of Session
California is moving forward with incorporating
algae into monitoring programs… What’s involved?
• Walk through steps of stream bioassessment using
algae
• Introduce users to tools that are available, or under
development, to support algae-based
bioassessment
• Foster an open forum for discussion about the process
and tools
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Session Outline
• Field sampling of stream algae
• Laboratory analyses
• Data processing, analysis, &
interpretation
• User-support resources
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Why add Algae to the
State’s Bioassessment Toolkit?
• Weight of evidence
• Provides complementary information to
bugs in terms of different
• stressors
• time frames
• ranges of response
Applications of Algae Data
Taxonomic
composition
(“quality”)
Biomass (“quantity”)
–
–
–
–
algal cover
chlorophyll a
ash-free dry mass
algal biovolume
stream condition/water quality
 ambient assessment
 compliance monitoring
 bio-objectives
algal nuisance/eutrophication
 ambient assessment
 compliance monitoring
 NNE framework
How do we sample
stream algae for
community composition
and biomass?
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SWAMP Algae Sampling Protocol
• Designed to fit well
into existing field
bioassessment
practices (bugs,
PHab)
• Modular
construction
SWAMP
Algae
Field SOP
June 2009
(updated
May 2010)
sccwrp.org
Technical Report #602
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We Look at two Algal Assemblages
soft-bodied algae
(& cyanobacteria)
diatoms
Reachwide Benthos Sampling
• as with bugs… multiple habitat types, as opposed to
targeted substrata (cobbles)
• diatoms and soft algae are co-collected within a
single sampling effort
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Algae Sampling Co-occurs with Bug Sampling
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Sampling Devices
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Sampling Devices
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Collection of Algae Samples
…e.g., cobbles
1) diatom 2) soft
taxonomic IDs,
3) biovolume
4) chlorophyll a
5) ash-free dry mass
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Preparation of Biomass Samples
for Storage
• Filter measured
amount on glassfiber filter
• Same procedure
for chlorophyll a &
ash-free dry mass
• Store frozen
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Planning Algae Field Sampling
• Get crews trained: State Board Training Academy
has been offering several each summer (J.
Harrington)
• Full SWAMP bioassessment protocol can be
carried out by crews of 3-5
• Construct sampling devices (syringe plus supplies
that can be purchased at Home Depot; instructions
in SOP)
• Train crews for safe handling of fixatives
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What happens
to the algae samples?:
Summary of
laboratory processing
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Diatom Sample Processing
for Taxonomic ID
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Soft-bodied Algae Come in a
Variety of Shapes/Sizes…
10 µm
20 µm
same scale!
Soft-algae Sample
Processing
for Taxonomic ID
• Separate analysis of
microalgae and
macroalgae
• Determine absolute
biovolumes of taxa
present in both
fractions
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Quantitative Analysis
of Algal Biomass
ash-free dry mass
chlorophyll a
concentration results
are interpreted in light
of “composite volume”
and area of stream
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bottom sampled
Planning Algae Lab Analyses
• Holding times apply (next slide)
• Set up contract laboratories (see handout for
some possibilities)
• Have contractors use California Master Taxa
Lists for diatoms and soft-algae (see
handout)
• May want to have soft-algae taxonomy lab
add the fixative (notify them in advance)
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Cost-effective field method
for assessing algal
abundance in streams
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Point-intercept Estimation
of Algal Cover
wetted width
• record presence/absence of algae at each of
105 objectively determined points
• piggybacks on existing PHab protocol for bugs
stream flow
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Examples of Percent Cover Results
15%
50%
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Utility of Macroalgal % Cover Data
chlorophyll a (mg/m2)
tau = 0.9
macroalgal % cover
Addressing the Need for
Algae Taxonomic Resources for California
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Taxonomy
Websites
• Taxonomic keys
• 100s of taxa
represented
• Focus on So Cal
flora
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Multiple navigation routes
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Species pages contain
• photo(s)
• detailed description
• So Cal geog. distribution
• selected environmental
variables
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Analogous
format for softbodied algae
http://dbmuseblade.colorado.edu/Di
atomTwo/sbsac_site/index.php
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Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI)
• Measures aspects of a biological community to yield an
indication of water quality and/or ecological condition
• Comprised of set of “metrics” combined to form index
• Bugs, algae, amphibians, plants, fish…
Component Metrics:
Draft Algae IBI for So Cal
1. proportion sedimentation tolerant (incl. highly
motile)
2. proportion low-nitrogen indicators (incl. N fixers)
3. proportion halobiontic
4. proportion nitrogen heterotrophs
5. proportion requiring > 50% saturation DO
6. proportion of organic-associated spp
7. proportion of copper-associated spp
8. proportion of low-phosphorus-associated spp
Draft IBI – Validation Data (So Cal)
IBI score
R2 = 0.51 , p < 0.0001
SMC
Demonstration
Project:
Integrating
Bioassessment
Results from
Different
Assemblages
algae
BMI
Calculating Algae Metrics/IBIs
• Raw data processed to generate raw metrics
• Raw metrics standardized by rescaling from 0-10
• Scaled metrics summed into IBI
• Statistical boundaries are available for
comparison of test site score with distribution of
IBI scores realized in reference sites
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Algae Data Reporting Module
under development
will calculate algal biomass levels
and species-based metrics and IBIs
desired dataset is selected for reporting of results
desired results exported to spreadsheet
Summary of Resources
for Analysis of Algae Data
• Online taxonomic ID resources
• Master taxa lists for diatoms and soft
algae
• Taxon-specific indicator values for
calculating metrics
• Metric & IBI calculation information
– currently in the form of spreadsheets
– will eventually be available via automated
reporting modules
Background Information on Algae in Bioassessment
• Recommendations
for application of
various algaebased indicators
• Includes literature
California’s
review/interview
“Algae
Plan”
responses re: algae
monitoring practices
March 2008
all over world
sccwrp.org
Technical
Report # 563
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More information:
Betty Fetscher
[email protected]
714-755-3237
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