Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2014LA96B

Effect of Herbicide Atrazine on Phytoplankton, Water Quality, and Ecosystem Functions in Louisiana Coastal Wetlands

Institute: Louisiana
Year Established: 2014 Start Date: 2014-03-01 End Date: 2015-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $15,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $36,431

Principal Investigators: Sibel Bargu, Ronald DeLaune

Abstract: Alterations in nutrient availability, stoichiometery, and pollutants can all affect the algal biomass and community composition in aquatic systems. The Mississippi River and its watershed containing large amounts of land use associated with agricultural fields for either crop production and/or pasturing livestock is a prime example of how changes in river nutrients and contaminants impacting the coastal zone. Information is needed on ability of wetlands receiving the diverted river to process and assimilate pollutants such as herbicide Atrazine found in Mississippi River and influence these algal communities directly. Phytoplankton is very important basal resource to higher trophic levels and due to short generation times, phytoplankton can respond quickly to changes in their aquatic environment and changes in phytoplankton may indicate when significant physical, chemical or biological changes occur in the water column. This proposal aims to quantify the amount of herbicide Atrazine entering into the Breton Sound Estuary as result of freshwater inputs from the Mississippi River under different flow and nutrient regimes and to assess distinct responses of local phytoplankton communities to Atrazine by determining the toxicity of herbicide Atrazine on individual phytoplankton growth and community structure changes. Knowing the natural levels of Atrazine and responses of phytoplankton to such levels can be especially important for higher trophic levels since their growth and abundance can determine the potential productivity of the entire ecosystem