Presentation Title

Natural Regeneration of Estuarine Biofilm in the Fraser River Estuary, Vancouver, British Columbia

Session Title

Local Stories and Results

Conference Track

Salish Sea Snapshots

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (2016 : Vancouver, B.C.)

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type of Presentation

Snapshot

Abstract

High densities of biofilm occur in the top 2 mm of soft fine sediments within the upper intertidal zone of estuaries. As such, biofilm is subjected to periodic physical disturbance from natural processes and is increasingly exposed to anthropogenic disturbance from shoreline use and coastal development. The natural regeneration of biofilm in the Fraser River Estuary was assessed at Roberts Bank through paired control-impact study plots. Biofilm biomass, as measured by photopigment and carbohydrate densities, was sampled immediately prior to, post, and every three to five days following a manual disturbance over a 45 day period.

Biofilm biomass at the disturbance sites was significantly lower compared with control plots for biofilm biomass parameters (chlorophyll a, fucoxanthin, and total carbohydrate) immediately following disturbance. Pairwise tests showed the biofilm biomass parameters at the disturbance sites returned to statistically similar levels as the control sites within nine days of disturbance. These results indicate biofilm to be resilient to disturbance with an ability to readily establish if optimal growth conditions occur.

A larger temporal pattern was observed within the biofilm biomass levels and the microphytobenthic community composition across all sites. Control sites did not return to pre-disturbance conditions until 28 to 32 days following disturbance. The occurrence of a 28 day pattern with peak biomass densities occurring during monthly maximum spring tides and low biomass occurring during neap tides suggests the influence of the spring-neap tidal cycle, which is known to drive estuarine mixing dynamics. Biofilm is shown to exhibit a naturally high level of variability, which should be considered during ecological assessments.

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

Type

Text

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 

Natural Regeneration of Estuarine Biofilm in the Fraser River Estuary, Vancouver, British Columbia

2016SSEC

High densities of biofilm occur in the top 2 mm of soft fine sediments within the upper intertidal zone of estuaries. As such, biofilm is subjected to periodic physical disturbance from natural processes and is increasingly exposed to anthropogenic disturbance from shoreline use and coastal development. The natural regeneration of biofilm in the Fraser River Estuary was assessed at Roberts Bank through paired control-impact study plots. Biofilm biomass, as measured by photopigment and carbohydrate densities, was sampled immediately prior to, post, and every three to five days following a manual disturbance over a 45 day period.

Biofilm biomass at the disturbance sites was significantly lower compared with control plots for biofilm biomass parameters (chlorophyll a, fucoxanthin, and total carbohydrate) immediately following disturbance. Pairwise tests showed the biofilm biomass parameters at the disturbance sites returned to statistically similar levels as the control sites within nine days of disturbance. These results indicate biofilm to be resilient to disturbance with an ability to readily establish if optimal growth conditions occur.

A larger temporal pattern was observed within the biofilm biomass levels and the microphytobenthic community composition across all sites. Control sites did not return to pre-disturbance conditions until 28 to 32 days following disturbance. The occurrence of a 28 day pattern with peak biomass densities occurring during monthly maximum spring tides and low biomass occurring during neap tides suggests the influence of the spring-neap tidal cycle, which is known to drive estuarine mixing dynamics. Biofilm is shown to exhibit a naturally high level of variability, which should be considered during ecological assessments.