Indexed on: 15 Dec '17Published on: 14 Dec '17Published in: Marine Ecology
Phytoplankton primary production and its regulation by light and nutrient availability were investigated in the shallow, tropical coastal waters of Bandon Bay, Southern Thailand. The bay was meso-eutrophicated and highly turbid, receiving river water discharge. Water column stratification was consistently weak during both rainy and dry seasons. Dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) was higher off the river mouth than in the other regions, suggesting that river water discharge was a main source of DIN. By contrast, dissolved inorganic phosphorus (DIP) showed a significant negative correlation with total water depth, implying that regeneration around the sea floor was an important source of DIP. Surface DIN and DIP showed positive correlations with surface primary production (PP) and water column primary productivity (ΣPP*), respectively. The combined correlation and model analyses indicate that total water depth had an ambivalent influence on water column primary production (ΣPP); shallower water depth induced more active regeneration of nutrients, but it also caused higher turbidity and lower light availability as a result of enhanced resuspension of sediments. Furthermore, there was a vertical constraint for phytoplankton during the rainy season: total water depth tended to be shallower than euphotic zone depth. In conclusion, light limitation and vertical constraint owing to shallow water depth appear to be more important than nutrient limitation for water column primary production in Bandon Bay.