Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

Kristen (VanSant) Blattner, Texas A&M University

Class Year: 

Project Title: 

Characterization and Migratory Behavior of Microphytobenthos in the Chesapeake Bay


Microphytobenthos are important contributors to oxygen in the sediment, food sources for grazers, and stabilizers of sediment. However, little study on microphytobenthos has been performed in North America, specifically in the Chesapeake Bay. In this study, the assemblage of microphytobenthos was characterized and vertical migration of the microphytobenthos was assessed in the Choptank River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. A new tool, the spectrofluorometer, was used to investigate both characterization and migration. Diatoms and cryptophytes were the dominant species in the benthos and results suggested that both migrated with each other, not independently. Overall, light had little effect on migration. The spectrofluorometer was a useful tool for quick species and migration assessment of the microphytobenthos.