Date of Award

Spring 2001

Document Type

Legacy Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Marine Science


College of Science

First Advisor

Louis E. Keiner


SeaWiFS is a NASA satellite that uses visible light imagery to determine oceanic chlorophyll concentrations. South Carolina has been experiencing an increase in development, especially on the northern part of the coast. This increased development has caused an increase in impervious surfaces, which are a growing problem because they result in a much higher volume of storm-water runoff into local waterways. The increased runoff can be associated with increased nutrient levels in the water, and with bacterial and algal blooms, which can cause beach closings or advisories. We have taken three years of SeaWiFS imagery of South Carolina coastal waters and temporally and spatially analyzed them to find seasonal chlorophyll cycles. After determining these cycles, imagery from days after high runoff were compared to the seasonal averages to determine anomalies in chlorophyll concentration patterns caused by the increased runoff. We hypothesize that there should be a strong correlation between increases in chlorophyll concentrations and days when there is a high volume of runoff into the ocean from local waterways. This would show that SeaWiFS imagery is useful for environmental monitoring of the effects of coastal population growth.