Theses and Dissertations

Title: The elemental composition of several freshwater algae

Name: Boyd, Claude Elson

Degree: PhD

Chair: Dr. John M. Lawrence

Resides: FAA Library

University: Auburn

Location: Auburn, Alabama

Date: 1966

Pages: 76

Keywords: Algae,Freshwater algae,Anabaena,Aphanizomenon,Chara,Cladophora,Euglena,Hydrodictyon,Lyngbya,Microcystis,Mougeotia,Nitella,Oedogonium,Pithophora,Rhizoclonium,Spirogyra.


Samples of the following 14 genera of algae were collected from various geographical or geogeographical locations during the period from April to November 1965 and subjected to elemental analyses: Anabaena, Aphanizomenon, Chara, Cladophora, Euglena, Hydrodictyon, Lyngbya, Microcystis, Mougeotia, Nitella, Oedogonium, Pithophora, Rhizoclonium, and Spirogyra. There was considerable variation in the content of most elements, both within and between genera. The phytoplankton algae had a low metal ion content and a relatively high concentration of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus. The non-plankton algae generally contained more metallic ions and less carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus. Some genera accumulated a comparatively high level of certain elements as follows: nitrogen, phytoplankton genera and Euglena: phosphorus, phytoplankton genera and Rhizoclonium: sulfur, Aphanizomenon, Hydrodictyon, and Pithophora: potassium, Hydrodictyon and Pithophora: calcium, Chara and Pithophora: magnesium, Chara: sodium, Spirogyra: boron, Pithophora and Lyngbya. Both Chara and Pithophora were extremely rich in almost all inorganic ions and low in carbon when compared to other genera. Emission spectrographic analyses revealed the presence of substantial quantities of several elements that are not considered essential for algal growth. Apparently algae will accumulate almost any ion to which they have access. This study indicated that the uptake of ions by dense algal populations probably represents a considerable removal of nutrients from aquatic ecosystems, but these nutrients are available to higher trophic levels.Chemical analyses of the water in which the plants were growing indicated that the algae were collected from ecosystems of differing nutrient content. However, there were only a few cases where the correlation coefficient for the levels of a given element in the water of the sampling sites and the concentrations of this ion in samples of a particular alga was significant. There were considerable enrichments of all elements by the plants, when compared to the concentrations of the elements in the water. Cellulose and ether extract determinations were made on samples of several genera.

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