Project Title

The Effects of Anthropogenic Pressure on Estuarine Cyanobacteria Levels

Academic department under which the project should be listed

CSM - Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology

Faculty Sponsor Name

Thomas McElroy

Additional Faculty

Troy Mutchler, Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology, tmutchle@kennesaw.edu.

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Estuaries are transitional ecosystems that merge river and sea. The brackish waters are home to a large variety of plant and animal species making estuaries highly productive environments. Dissolved oxygen levels in estuaries vary depending on season and temperature. However, dissolved oxygen levels are also affected by the eutrophication of nutrients (e.g., phosphorus and nitrogen) which are caused by agricultural and industrial practices within the estuary’s watershed. These hypoxic events allow organisms, such as cyanobacteria, to multiply at high rates producing blue-green algae blooms of cyanobacteria to occur within the ecosystem. As a result, “dead zones” or areas of extremely low dissolved oxygen are created that can have deadly effects on the plant and animal species inhabiting the area. For this study, water samples were collected from three Georgia estuaries: Wassaw Sound, Ossabaw Sound, and Doboy Sound. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) was extracted from water filters using a DNA purification kit. The quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) method was utilized to investigate cyanobacteria diversity among the three estuaries. Our preliminary results display a difference in cyanobacteria species among the three sampling locations.

Disciplines

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology | Genetics and Genomics | Marine Biology

Project Type

Poster

How will this be presented?

Yes, in person

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The Effects of Anthropogenic Pressure on Estuarine Cyanobacteria Levels

Estuaries are transitional ecosystems that merge river and sea. The brackish waters are home to a large variety of plant and animal species making estuaries highly productive environments. Dissolved oxygen levels in estuaries vary depending on season and temperature. However, dissolved oxygen levels are also affected by the eutrophication of nutrients (e.g., phosphorus and nitrogen) which are caused by agricultural and industrial practices within the estuary’s watershed. These hypoxic events allow organisms, such as cyanobacteria, to multiply at high rates producing blue-green algae blooms of cyanobacteria to occur within the ecosystem. As a result, “dead zones” or areas of extremely low dissolved oxygen are created that can have deadly effects on the plant and animal species inhabiting the area. For this study, water samples were collected from three Georgia estuaries: Wassaw Sound, Ossabaw Sound, and Doboy Sound. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) was extracted from water filters using a DNA purification kit. The quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) method was utilized to investigate cyanobacteria diversity among the three estuaries. Our preliminary results display a difference in cyanobacteria species among the three sampling locations.

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