Seasonal variation of the phytoplankton community in tuna farms in Bahía de La Paz, southern Gulf of California, Mexico
ABSTRACT: The phytoplankton community of tuna farms in Bahía de La Paz, southern Baja California, Mexico was studied. Samples were taken from tuna farms near San Juan de la Costa, Rancheros del Mar and from a station in El Mogote, away from the influence of these farms. Water samples were collected monthly (June 2006-May 2007) with a van Dorn bottle at different depths in San Juan de la Costa (0, 25 and 50 m), Rancheros del Mar (0, 15 and 30 m) and El Mogote (0 m) to measure temperature, dissolved oxygen, inorganic nutrients, and chlorophyll-a and to determine phytoplankton composition and abundance. The index of simple dominance, Shannon-Weaver diversity, and Pielou evenness were estimated. The water column was stratified from June to September (~27.5°C) and mixed from October to May (~18.5°C). Nutrient concentrations at the three sampling sites did not increase significantly. Nanophytoplankton dominated, followed by microplanktonic diatoms, and the highest diatom abundance occurred during the warm period. The phytoplankton community was more diverse in San Juan de la Costa than in Rancheros del Mar. In the latter, a superficial bloom of the cyanobacterium Trichodesmium erythraeum (1630×103 cel L-1) occurred in September, and in San Juan de la Costa the diatom Pseudo-nitzschia fraudulenta reached the highest abundance (183.8×103 cel L-1) in July.