Date of Award

Spring 2005

Document Type

Legacy Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Marine Science


College of Science

First Advisor

Susan M. Libes


This study was conducted to monitor the occurrence of phytoplankton species in Withers Swash and to determine the relationship between phytoplankton growth and environment parameters. The project began December 2004 and continued into March 2005. Phytoplankton samples were collected using guidelines described by the Southeastern Phytoplankton Monitoring Network. Nutrients, dissolved oxygen, temperature, salinity, turbidity, and enterococcus data was also collected for this study. Very low amounts of phytoplankton were observed during the winter months. It was determined that the weather was too cold to support growth. Dissolved oxygen levels were highest during this period of low growth. The Redfield-Richards ratio was close to sixteen, indicating there was enough nutrients available for growth. During the last sampling dates, the amount of phytoplankton increased. This is attributed to the increasing temperatures. The Total Nitrogen levels fell, as well as the Redfield-Richards ratio. Dissolved oxygen levels also dropped. During this study there was not an adequate amount of phytoplankton to support a bloom. The current amount of phytoplankton would not impact the environment. If the study was to continue during the summer, when nutrients and phytoplankton growth are typically higher, this could lead to a bloom event.