Date of Award

Spring 2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Marine Science


College of Science

First Advisor

Susan Libes


The accumulation of polluted runoff in retention ponds can create water quality conditions that favor development of harmful algal blooms, including toxin-producing cyanobacteria. This can present a health risk to pedestrians and nearby residents, as many such ponds are surrounded by walkways or housing complexes. Blooms can also cause harm to natural ecosystems, periodically causing hypoxic conditions and toxin buildups. This study aims to form a more complete understanding of the population dynamics of certain potentially harmful phytoplankton genera, in relation to water quality parameters in retention ponds. Sampling was performed in five ponds chosen to reflect a variety of adjacent land uses. Eleven sets of samples were collected every other week for a period of six months. Cell abundance was quantified for five common and potentially harmful phytoplankton genera, which were chosen due to their prevalence in harmful algal blooms and potential for toxin production. Time trends in genera diversity and abundance were compared to water quality data to investigate relationships. A bloom event was captured at one location, and additional samples and data were collected over the course of the bloom to generate a more comprehensive data set.