Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

Angela Dubois, Bowdoin College

Class Year: 

Project Title: 

Stimulative Effects of Sediment Pore Water and Defined Organic Compounds on the Growth of Prorocentrum minimum Populations


Through the addition of sediment pore water extracted from various sites around the Delmarva Peninsula, the hypothesis was tested which stated that high-nutrient filtrate would stimulate growth of a local isolate of Prorocentrum minimum to a greater extent than would nutrient-poor filtrate. Growth rates of the dinoflagellate were analyzed over a period of 10-18 days amongst tubes containing pore water of varying nutrient compositions and concentrations from 18 sample sites. The sample sites were as well representative of a wide array of particle sizes and were situated in very diverse environments. Enhancement of the growth rate higher than the control was observed in 100% of experimental cultures, and some significance was found between growth rate enhancement and the existence of particular nutrients within pore water samples. Positive correlations between nutrient concentrations and physical characteristics of sediment demonstrate the possibility of classifying sample sites based on a variety of parameters. Results show the actual stimulation of growth from pore water examples and suggest that the nutrients within the benthos may serve as a source for pelagic algal growth.