Date of Award

Fall 1983

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Ocean & Earth Sciences



Committee Director

William M. Dunstan

Committee Member

Terry L. Wade

Committee Member

George Oertel

Committee Member

Harold G. Marshall

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.O35L31


The spatial and temporal distribution of phytoplankton was measured in relation to frontal areas located in the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay. Phytoplankton biomass, taxonomy, and several physical parameters were measured on fifteen sampling cruises between September,1981 and February, 1983.

Several statistical tests revealed that phytoplankton biomass did not accumulate at the fronts and that generally the distribution of phytoplankton biomass was homogenous across the frontal region. The cell count data indicated that the community structure of the phytoplankton assemblage was usually very similar on both sides of the front. The data which was concerned with temporal variations in the spatial distribution of phytoplankton was quite variable, but did show some evidence that phytoplankton biomass may increase over time at the front. The ephemeral nature of the estuarine fronts and the highly turbulent nature of the study area may have been responsible for the spatial homogeneity of the phytoplankton distribution.


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