Date of Award

Fall 1976

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Ocean & Earth Sciences



Committee Director

Randall S. Spencer

Committee Member

Martin A. Buzas

Committee Member

Anthony J. Provenzano, Jr.

Committee Member

Donald D. Adams

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.O35B37


Sediment and bottom water samples from seven stations at the Chesapeake Elizabeth sewage outfall, Virginia Beach, Virginia were collected in order to evaluate the effect of the outfall on benthic foraminifera. The top centimeter of sediment was analyzed for living and total (live plus dead) foraminiferal densities, chlorophyll a, sediment grain size, ATP, percentage of silt and clay, and total organic carbon. Bottom water salinity, temperature, and ammonia were also analyzed.

Living foraminiferal density increased from March to July and with distance from the outfall. Total foraminiferal density also increased from March to July. The set of environmental variables was significantly correlated with the living foraminiferal density at the 95% confidence level. Temperature and sediment grain size were the most important influences on living foraminiferal density. At the outfall, the population of dead foraminiferal species combined with the population of their living representatives was significantly different from that surrounding the effluent. The total (all species) foraminiferal population at the outfall was significantly different from the population 300 m East or West of the discharge.


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