Honors Projects


Many aquatic plants produce copious amounts of dissolved organic matter (DOM) which enters surrounding waters and potentially stimulates planktonic activity. In the northern Gulf of Mexico, Juncus roemarianus (i.e. black needlerush) is a dominant marsh grass species residing in coastal zones and barrier islands. The below-ground biomass i.e. rhizosphere, can be consistently submerged, serving as a potential source of DOM to the surrounding waters. The lability and possible stimulatory effect of J. roemarianus DOM was examined for three plankton communities collected within the discharge region of Mobile Bay and adjacent waters of Gulf Shores, Alabama (less affected by Mobile Bay). DOM within the pore water surrounding the J. roemarianus was extracted, concentrated, and added to the field communities along with positive (i.e. addition of labile organic matter) and negative (i.e. no additions) controls. In the Mobile Bay experiment, the DOM addition stimulated increased autotrophic biomass and heterotrophic activity well above that observed in the negative controls. However, experiments utilizing Gulf Shores water showed little to no stimulation. Our results suggest that J. roemarianus DOM addition may stimulate planktonic activity; however, the degree of enhancement is likely controlled by the community composition and water properties (e.g. nutrient availability).


Biological Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Robert Michael McKay

First Advisor Department

Biological Sciences

Second Advisor

Dr. George Bullerjahn

Second Advisor Department

Biological Sciences

Third Advisor

Dr. Jeffrey Krause

Third Advisor Department


Fourth Advisor

Dr. Behzad Mortazavi

Fourth Advisor Department


Publication Date

Summer 6-1-2016

This is my project's poster that I made for a conference I presented at late summer 2016. Given that I had not begun the research/data analysis phase of the data at BGSU at this point in time, my 2 honors adviser's names are not on this poster copy.