Location: Bowdoin / Coastal Studies Center / Student Research / Summer 2011 / Amy Anderson, '12

Coastal Studies Center

Amy Anderson, '12

Advisor: Collin Roesler, Award: Doherty Fellowship
Project: Modeling nutrient dynamics at the Harpswell Sound Buoy: Nitrate and nitrate and how they relate to Alexandrium fundense


Phytoplankton are single-celled aquatic photosynthesizers that requirie nutrients from their environment to thrive.  Nutrient dynamics are complicated, derived from the complex interplay between physics and biogeochemical cycles.  By examining the major sources of inorganic nitrogen (in the form of nitrate, NO3, and nitrite, NO2), we explored the role nutrients play in the occurrences and blooms of Alexandrium fundyense, a harmful algal species that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) in coastal Maine, colloquially known as red tide. We focused our study in Harpswell Sound, a sentinel site for A. fundyense appearance and early closure for PSP toxicity in shellfish. Research aimed to find a way to accurately estimate the concentration of nitrate hourly using instruments deployed in a Harpswell Sound buoy.  Specifically, we wanted to measure nitrate using the ultraviolet absorption spectrum.  In the laboratory, we correlated absorption peak height to concentration by chemically reconstructing seawater to understand its complexities.  With this knowledge, we developed a model that we applied to past measurements, building up to the real time measurements collected by the oceanographic buoy.  This allowed for the determination of natural nutrient concentrations on the same temporal scale as phytoplankton observations in order to shed light on the role nutrient dynamics play.  

Pecha Kucha

These presentations are in PechaKucha format. PechaKucha is Japanese for ‘chit-chat’. It is a presentation methodology devised in 2003 in which 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each. The slides auto advance to keep the presentations concise and quick paced. Each presentation is (about) 6 minutes and 40 seconds long.
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