Title

Predicting Harmful Algal Blooms with Water Quality Parameters

School Name

South Carolina Governor's School for Science and Mathematics

Grade Level

12th Grade

Presentation Topic

Zoology

Presentation Type

Mentored

Abstract

Algae, single-celled autotrophs, are essential organisms in freshwater ecosystems. However, when a body of water becomes eutrophic, or has excess nutrients, a harmful algal bloom (HAB) may occur. This research project aims to collect and analyze water quality parameters to predict HABs. We collected samples from Lakes Murray and Wateree for analysis. Lake Wateree was chosen for sampling because it is currently undergoing a harmful algal bloom. Lake Murray was chosen more as a long-term study project and because the lake is heavily used for recreational purposes. The sample water was collected by a Niskin bottle lowered to a specific depth, based on data we received from a multiparameter sonde. The samples were analyzed via filtering for phytoplankton concentrations and by a membrane inlet mass spectrometer (MIMS) for the concentrations of dissolved gasses, especially nitrogen and oxygen, to determine the productivity of microorganisms in the water. Data collected from the sonde was run through MIMS and corrected in a separate Excel file. After that we could form graphs based on the data collected. These graphs show the change in excess nitrogen at different depths and days. This allows us to see how the lake changes over months and years. If we had more time to conduct this research, we would have looked further at data from Lake Murray, since we observed a gradual increase in biogenic N2 in the anoxic bottom water over the summer. We observed a more oxic environment, and generally, denitrification is present in anoxic environments.

Location

HSS 107

Start Date

4-2-2022 10:15 AM

Presentation Format

Oral Only

Group Project

Yes

COinS
 
Apr 2nd, 10:15 AM

Predicting Harmful Algal Blooms with Water Quality Parameters

HSS 107

Algae, single-celled autotrophs, are essential organisms in freshwater ecosystems. However, when a body of water becomes eutrophic, or has excess nutrients, a harmful algal bloom (HAB) may occur. This research project aims to collect and analyze water quality parameters to predict HABs. We collected samples from Lakes Murray and Wateree for analysis. Lake Wateree was chosen for sampling because it is currently undergoing a harmful algal bloom. Lake Murray was chosen more as a long-term study project and because the lake is heavily used for recreational purposes. The sample water was collected by a Niskin bottle lowered to a specific depth, based on data we received from a multiparameter sonde. The samples were analyzed via filtering for phytoplankton concentrations and by a membrane inlet mass spectrometer (MIMS) for the concentrations of dissolved gasses, especially nitrogen and oxygen, to determine the productivity of microorganisms in the water. Data collected from the sonde was run through MIMS and corrected in a separate Excel file. After that we could form graphs based on the data collected. These graphs show the change in excess nitrogen at different depths and days. This allows us to see how the lake changes over months and years. If we had more time to conduct this research, we would have looked further at data from Lake Murray, since we observed a gradual increase in biogenic N2 in the anoxic bottom water over the summer. We observed a more oxic environment, and generally, denitrification is present in anoxic environments.