Geographic variability in amoeboid protists and other microbial groups in the water column of the lower Hudson River Estuary.

Juhl, Andrew R.

In comparison to other groups of planktonic microorganisms, relatively little is known about the role of amoeboid protists (amebas) in planktonic ecosystems. This study describes the !rst geographic survey of the abundance and biomass of amebas in an estuarine water column. Samples collected in the lower Hudson River Estuary were used to investigate relationships between ameba abundance and biomass and hydrographic variables (temperature, salinity, and turbidity), water depth (surface and near bottom), distance from mid-channel to shore, phytoplankton biomass (chlorophyll fluorescence) and the occurrence of other heterotrophic microbial groups (heterotrophic bacteria, nano flagellates, and ciliates) in the plankton. Although salinity increased signi!cantly towards the mouth of the estuary, there were no signi!cant differences in the abundance or biomass of any microbial group in surface samples collected at three stations separated by 44 km along the estuary's mid-channel. Peak biomass values for all microbial groups were found at the station closest to shore, however, cross-channel trends in microbial abundance and biomass were not statistically significant. Although ameba abundance and biomass in most samples were low compared to other microbial groups, clear patterns in ameba distribution were nevertheless found. Unlike other microbial groups examined, ameba numbers and biomass greatly increased in near bottom water compared to surface samples. Ameba abundance and biomass (in surface samples) were also strongly related to increasing turbidity. The different relationships of ameba abundance and biomass with turbidity suggest a rising contribution of large amebas in microbial communities of the Hudson estuary when turbidity increases. These results, emphasizing the importance of particle concentration as attachment and feeding surfaces for amebas, will help identify the environmental conditions when amebas are most likely to contribute significantly to estuarine bacterivory and C-flux.


Also Published In

Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Biology and Paleo Environment
Published Here
November 6, 2023