Elizabeth Hoffeditz, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania


Class Year:



Jacob Cram Ph.D.

Project Title:

Assessment of Viral Production from an Unknown Lyngbya Species in the Northern Chesapeake Bay


Aquatic and marine viruses are present in all known aquatic environments. A proportion of these viruses infect cyanobacteria including the invasive filamentous cyanobacteria Lyngbya. In the Chesapeake Bay and other ecosystems, Lyngbya can produce toxins that are hazardous to the organisms in their surrounding environment. However, viruses have been shown to be associated with bloom decline or termination and with toxin production. Our study aimed to determine if Lyngbya in the Susquehanna Flats are producing viruses and to estimate their production rates. Lyngbya from one location in the Susquehanna Flats appeared to produce viruses, while Lyngbya from another location did not. As the location with detectable virus production was also the one with higher Lyngbya abundance, we hypothesize that viral production may only be possible when the density of Lyngbya is sufficiently high in the environment. We recommend further studies to observe viral production by Lyngbya later in the summer when there are denser mats. We also advocate determining the taxonomic identity of the viruses infecting Lyngbya, as well as exploring their effects on the blooms, as they could alter toxin production and regulate bloom termination.  


Horn Point Laboratory


Hoffeditz, E.*, and J. Cram. 2024. Assessment of viral production from an unknown Lyngbya species in the xorthern Chesapeake Bay. Ocean Sciences Meeting, New Orleans, LA.

The REU students are indicated with an asterisk (*).

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