Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches, Lectures

Rate of Orthophosphate Uptake by Periphyton in the Everglades

Event Name/Location

Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration Meeting, Coral Springs, Florida, April 22-25, 2019

Presentation Date


Document Type



Periphyton is an essential source of primary productivity and plays a major role in the removal and short-term storage of phosphorus in the Florida Everglades. In recent decades, runoff from the Everglades Agricultural Area has caused a serious nutrient pollution problem. In the oligotrophic wetlands, the increase of phosphorus leads to the growth of species that disrupts the ecosystem. In order to gauge the response of periphyton to these environmental changes, the rate of phosphorus uptake by epipelon, metaphyton, and epiphyton mats are measured following spikes of varying concentrations of potassium phosphate. The concentration of orthophosphate in the water samples is determined through the ascorbic acid method and a UV-Vis spectrophotometer. Dry weight of each periphyton mat is used to standardize the uptake rates of orthophosphate. Results indicate that epipelon, benthic periphyton mats, have higher rates of phosphorus uptake. In addition, the South Florida Water Management District DBHydro database is used to monitor potential sources of phosphorus fluxes such as precipitation and canal openings. This allows translation of experimental results to practical implications, providing insight to the response of periphyton to changes within the Everglades ecosystem.


Also presented at:

  • Nova Southeastern University Undergraduate Student Symposium, April 4th, 2019

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