Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

David M. Needham, Huntingdon College

Class Year: 
2007

Project Title: 

Viral and Bacterial Abundance and Distribution in the Coastal Bays of Maryland, USA Along a Gradient of Eutrophication

Abstract: 

The Coastal Bays of Maryland, USA are affected by eutrophication resulting from increased nutrients into the system due to anthropogenic activities. The Coastal bays of Maryland are characterized by high nutrients, poor water quality, high residence times, and high mixing. This is the first study enumerating viruses and bacteria in the Coastal Bays using SYBR Green I staining and epi-flourescent microscopy. Bacteria concentrations ranged from 106 to 107 ml-1 during sampling periods in May and July, 2007. Viruses ranged from 107 to 108 ml-1 over the same time period. These numbers are similar to or greater than comparable coastal eutrophic systems. Significant correlations (p<0.05) with bacteria were found for viruses, surface salinity, chlorophyll a, total nitrogen, total phosphorous, and surface temperature. These findings should be considered in subsequent analysis of the Coastal Bay region that regard nutrient cycling, primary production, and the microbial loop.

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