Periphyton metabolism: A chamber approach

James T. Brock, Todd V. Royer, Eric B. Snyder, Steven A. Thomas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


In lotic ecosystems, the metabolism of periphyton is influenced strongly by natural and anthropogenic disturbances such as floods. Using recirculating metabolism chambers, we measured the metabolic activity of the Cladophora g/omerafa-dominated periphyton community in the Glen Canyon Dam tailwater, in relation to the 1996 controlled flood. Because scouring removes senescent plant material and detritus from periphyton, we hypothesized that productivity rates and the gross productivity/respiration (P/R) ratio of the periphyton community would be greater after the flood. Gross and net primary production (as chlorophyll-a) increased significantly after the flood and an approximately 2-fold increase was observed in net daily metabolism. Mean P/R ratio increased significantly from 1.3 in the pre-flood community to 2.6 in the post-flood community. Following the flood, periphyton on the rocks exhibited increased photosynthetic efficiency relative to measurements made before the flood. Given the importance of primary producers in desert rivers, such changes have implications for ecologically sound management of the Colorado and other rivers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Controlled Flood in Grand Canyon, 1999
EditorsRobert H. Webb, G. Richard Marzolf, John C. Schmidt, Richard A. Valdez
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Ltd
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781118664711
ISBN (Print)9780875900933
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameGeophysical Monograph Series
ISSN (Print)0065-8448
ISSN (Electronic)2328-8779

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics


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