Presenter Information

Haley Nickerson

Mentor

James Kraly and Cynthia Hays

Location

L. P. Young Student Center – Lantern And East Dining Rooms

Abstract

Many different species of microalgae live on the surface of eelgrass leaves and can limit the growth and survival of the eelgrass. Microalgae are single-celled photosynthetic organisms, and overgrowth by epiphytic algae has been implicated in the decline of seagrasses worldwide. Traditionally, microalgae have been identified using microscopy, which is difficult, time consuming, and relies on qualitative observations. The purpose of this research project is to develop an analytical method to measure extracted photopigments as a means of microalgae identification. High Performance Liquid Chromatography will be used to separate and measure photopigments chlorophyll a, fucoxanthin, and zeaxanthin, which are common to many microalgae communities. Calculated ratios of the three photopigments can be used to identify microalgae taxonomy. Results from this project will investigate the relative abundance of different microalgae communities on eelgrass collected from field sites in Massachusetts and examine how algal community structure varies with eelgrass health.

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Apr 11th, 4:15 PM Apr 11th, 5:15 PM

Chemical Profiling Of Microalgae Communities Associated With Eelgrass

L. P. Young Student Center – Lantern And East Dining Rooms

Many different species of microalgae live on the surface of eelgrass leaves and can limit the growth and survival of the eelgrass. Microalgae are single-celled photosynthetic organisms, and overgrowth by epiphytic algae has been implicated in the decline of seagrasses worldwide. Traditionally, microalgae have been identified using microscopy, which is difficult, time consuming, and relies on qualitative observations. The purpose of this research project is to develop an analytical method to measure extracted photopigments as a means of microalgae identification. High Performance Liquid Chromatography will be used to separate and measure photopigments chlorophyll a, fucoxanthin, and zeaxanthin, which are common to many microalgae communities. Calculated ratios of the three photopigments can be used to identify microalgae taxonomy. Results from this project will investigate the relative abundance of different microalgae communities on eelgrass collected from field sites in Massachusetts and examine how algal community structure varies with eelgrass health.