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Title: Net Phytoplankton of the Ala Wai Canal, O'ahu, Hawai'i 
Author: Beach, Kevin S.; Harris, Robert; Holsomback, Michelle; Rabago, Melissa; Smith, Celia M.
Date: 1995-10
Publisher: University of Hawaii Press
Citation: Beach KS, Harris R, Holsomback M, Rabago M, Smith CM. 1995. Net phytoplankton of the Ala Wai Canal, O'ahu, Hawai'i. Pac Sci 49(4): 332-340.
Abstract: The Ala Wai Canal currently possesses a diverse and differentially
distributed phytoplankton community that includes a minimum of 20
diatom genera, four dinoflagellate genera, and one cyanophyte genus. The
diatom populations of the canal may be characterized by two ecological components:
(I) diatoms thought to be intolerant of the estuary's variable physical
conditions, and (2) diatoms believed to be tolerant to most environmental
conditions found in the canal. The phytoplankton in the region between the
head of the Ala Wai Canal and the Manoa-Palolo Stream outfall are primarily
dinoflagellates. These algae may be restricted to this part of the canal, in
part, because the sediment berm formed adjacent to the Manoa-Palolo Stream
outfall restricts water motion, thereby altering circulation patterns, water temperature,
and oxygen concentration at the head of the canal, favoring a
dinoflagellate dominated-community. Lyngbya (Cyanophyta) is found throughout
the canal at low relative densities. The distribution of the dominant diatom
Skeletonema costatum (Greville) Cleve as well as similarity of phytoplankton
populations across sites indicated that migration of phytoplankton within the
canal is tidally controlled. Flushing the canal by pumping in seawater at its
head has the potential to substantially alter phytoplankton composition and
distribution at points in this waterway and may eliminate an entire division of
algae from the head of the canal.
ISSN: 0030-8870

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