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Chapter A7. Biological Indicators

National Field Manual for the Collection of Water-Quality Data (TWRI Book 9)

7.4 Algal Biomass Indicators (8/2007) [1MB PDF]

By Julie A. Hambrook Berkman and Michael G. Canova

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Indicators of algal biomass are used to assess water quality in both moving (lotic) and stillwater (lentic) ecosystems. Algal biomass in a water body can be estimated in three ways: (1) by quantifying chlorophyll a (CHL a), (2) by measuring carbon biomass as ash-free dry mass (AFDM), or (3) by measuring the particulate organic carbon (POC) in a sample. The CHL a procedure measures photosynthetic pigment common to all types of algae, while AFDM and POC procedures measure the carbon in a filtered water sample.


7.4 Algal biomass indicators

7.4.1 - Pre-sampling considerations and plans

7.4.2 - In vivo measurement of chlorophyll and phycocyanin

7.4.3 - Phytoplankton sampling procedures for chlorophyll a and particulate organic carbon

7.4.4 - Periphyton sampling procedures for chlorophyll and ash-free dry mass in streams, lakes, reservoirs, and large rivers

7.4.5 - Sample processing and preservation

7.4.6 - Field-data documentation, labeling, and sample packaging and shipping

7.4.7 - Selected references for algal biomass indicators

7.4.8 - Acknowledgments

Appendix A7-A - Examples of field forms

Comments/Errata page

 [Back] Return to Chapter A7 Biological Indicators Table of Contents

 [Back] Return to Field Manual Table of Contents

Citation for Section 7.4

Hambrook Berkman, J.A., and Canova, M.G., 2007, Algal biomass indicators (ver. 1.0): U.S. Geological Survey Techniques of Water-Resources Investigations, book 9, chap. A7, section 7.4, August, accessed__date__ from

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