Date of Award

Fall 1994

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences



Committee Director

Harold G. Marshall

Committee Member

Kneeland K. Nesius

Committee Member

Lewis F. Affronti

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.B46 S343


The composition and seasonal abundance patterns for phytoplankton in the Pagan River, Virginia, were determined. This river is characterized as a nutrient enriched system with annual mean levels of total nitrogen and phosphorus at 1.8 and 0.8 mg/I respectively. Three phytoplankton maxima occurred during the year with the highest in fall, followed by summer and spring peaks. A diatom flora was dominant throughout the year at concentrations of 107 to 108 cells/I. Other algal populations exhibited distinct periods of abundance, which seasonally varied in magnitude and time of development. Turbidity levels were high throughout the year, with a mean secchi reading of 0.4 m. When compared to the James River and other regional rivers within the Chesapeake Bay drainage basin, the Pagan River had similar, but greater phytoplankton abundance, in addition to higher nutrient levels, and lower secchi depths.


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