Date of Award

Summer 1989

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Ocean & Earth Sciences



Committee Director

William M. Dunstan

Committee Member

M. H. Prager

Committee Member

John McConaugha

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.O35D67


The biomass distribution of the three main size components of the phytoplankton (net, nano, and picoplankton) was examined in the lower Chesapeake Bay. Work was done at two stations during the spring and neap tidal cycles when freshwater flow into the bay was at its seasonal minimum and maximum. Emphasis was placed on how the picoplankton ( < 2.0 μm, > 0.2 μm) reacted during the sampling period.

Picoplankton made up approximately 13% of the total biomass, during the observed time period, at the more oceanic station. The picoplankton fraction contributed up to 16% of the total biomass at the estuarine station. From this study, it appears that the picoplankton are not affected by the tides or the seasons. They in fact formed a constant component of the population during the entire study.

The other fractions observed during the study were the net and nanoplankton. The fall and spring blooms were dominated by the nanoplankton chlorophyll a. The netplankton in the bay formed only a small portion of the total biomass.


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