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Nutrient Uptake in Harmful Algal Blooms

Large algal blooms in Chesapeake Bay at the mouth of Mobjack Bay. ©Kim Reece/VIMS

Large algal blooms in Chesapeake Bay at the mouth of Mobjack Bay. ©Kim Reece/VIMS

When scientists and environmental regulators talk about nutrient pollution, they are primarily talking about additional nitrogen and phosphorus that enters the water from wastewater treatment plants, runoff, and other sources. These extra nutrients can allow algae to grow out of control, creating a phenomenon know as harmful algal blooms (HABs). However little is known about the specific nitrogen and phosphorus requirements of the algal species that form HABs. Jenna Spackeen, a graduate student at VIMS, will measure how quickly HAB species take up nitrogen and phosphorus in the York River. The results will help regulators more accurately determine safe levels and ratios of these nutrients that can be allowed to enter the water.

Project details: Jenna Spackeen (VIMS). Nitrogen and Phosphorus uptake by HABs.