Publications: Peer-reviewed journal articles (by staff)

Spatiotemporal dynamics of Phormidium cover and anatoxin concentrations in eight New Zealand rivers with contrasting nutrient and flow regimes

12 January, 2018
CITATION

McAllister TG, Wood SA, Atalah J, Hawes I 2018. Spatiotemporal dynamics of Phormidium cover and anatoxin concentrations in eight New Zealand rivers with contrasting nutrient and flow regimes. Science of The Total Environment 612: 71-80.

DOI link here

ABSTRACT

Toxic benthic cyanobacterial proliferations, particularly of the genus Phormidium, are a major concern in many countries due to their increasing extent and severity. The aim of this study was to improve the current understanding of the dominant physicochemical variables associated with high Phormidium cover and toxin concentrations. Phormidium cover and anatoxin concentrations were assessed weekly for 30 weeks in eight predominately cobble-bed rivers in the South Island of New Zealand. Phormidium cover was highly variable both spatially (among and within sites) and temporally. Generalized additive mixed models (GAMMs) identified site, month of the year, conductivity and nutrient concentrations over the accrual period as significant variables associated with Phormidium cover. Cover was greatest under low to intermediate accrual dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) and dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) concentrations. Accrual nutrients had a strong, negative effect on cover at concentrations > 0.2 mg L− 1 DIN and 0.014 mg L− 1 DRP. The effect of flow was generally consistent across rivers, with cover accruing with time since the last flushing flow. Total anatoxins were detected at all eight study sites, at concentrations ranging from 0.008 to 662.5 mg kg− 1 dried weight. GAMMs predicted higher total anatoxin concentrations between November and February and during periods of accrual DRP < 0.02 mg L− 1. This study suggests that multiple physicochemical variables may influence Phormidium proliferations and also evidenced large site-to-site variability. This result highlights a challenge from a management perspective, as it suggests that mitigation options are likely to be site-specific.