Discipline: Ecology Environmental and Earth Sciences
Christopher Yarbrough - Virginia State University
Co-Author(s): Latia Jackson, Joel Kosi, and Shobha Sriharan
Submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) is a critically important component of the aquatic environment in the Chesapeake Bay, and its presence and healthiness are indicators of good water quality. Since its inception in the early 1980s the Chesapeake Bay Program has identified abundance of nutrients as the most damaging water quality problem facing the Bay and its tributaries. High levels of nutrients, primarily phosphorus and nitrogen, over-fertilize the Bay waters, causing excess levels of algae. These algae can have a direct impact on submerged aquatic vegetation by blocking light from reaching these plants. Algae are sensitive indicators of environmental conditions in lakes and rivers. Discrete algal populations of a river or lake can give important information about the biological and chemical water quality. The Appomattox River is a tributary of James River which forms the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Scientists contribute the lowering the mount of nutrient and sediment pollution moving from our streets, lawns, farm fields, and wastewater treatment plants into water is critical for the restoration of the Bay. The hypothesis of this research is that the measurement of algae at different locations of the Appomattox River flow from Randolph Farm of Virginia State University to the mouth of the River (Hopewell Point) will provide information on nutrient loads from the farms and lawns in the region. In addition, algae are also capable of producing taste and odor compounds that affect the quality of drinking water. Therefore, studies on identification of algae by collecting water samples in 250 mL plastic at different location of the flow of Appomattox River. These included, Lake Chesdin, River Road in Ettrick, VSU’s Randolph Farm, Harvell Dam in Petersburg, Appomattox Greenway Trail in Colonial Heights, and Hopewell Point. The samples were kept in the refrigerator for the phytoplankton to settle. The sediment was transferred into small vials (20mL) to get cleaned sample for identification of algae under microscope. A drop of cleaned sample was placed over microscopic slide and covered with coverslip for accurate species identification. The diatoms were identified to the species level, based on their morphological characteristics observed using oil immersion microscopy using standard diatom index literature. Further studies are needed for identification of other algae and quantitative analysis.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): This study was supported by the NSF HBCU UP Fall Semester Research.
Faculty Advisor: Shobha Sriharan,