Honors Projects


Emily EberlyFollow


Sandusky Bay is largely populated by cyanobacterial algal blooms, mainly formed by Planktothrix. Fertilizers containing nitrogen and phosphorus run from agricultural lands into the bay, building up excess nutrients forming eutrophic waters. The Planktothrix feed off these nutrients and grow into algal blooms. To determine a potential solution to the growth of these blooms, I implemented a hydroponics system involving Lactuca Sativa for analysis of Planktothrix growth and productivity. Four different nutrient conditions were added to a Planktothrix-only solution and a solution growing Planktothrix with the lettuce in the hydroponics system. The four conditions consisted of no nutrient addition (control), base levels of nitrogen and phosphorus (NP), high nitrogen base phosphorus (HN), and high phosphorus base nitrogen (HP). My results concluded that when Planktothrix was exposed to HN and HP conditions, it grew substantially more when in an environment alone than when growing with lettuce. The rate of growth and cell counts were higher in those solutions of Planktothrix-only, suggesting a possible competitive relationship formed between the bacteria and the lettuce in which the lettuce out-competed the bacteria for nutrients. This analysis can conclude a possible solution to the algal blooms in Sandusky Bay where a change in agricultural systems may help mitigate Planktothrix growth. The implementation of a hydroponics system where eutrophic water is recycled back into the agricultural systems, or where cultivation of crops occurs right on the bay itself may lead to crops outcompeting bacteria for nutrients, leading to a decrease in algal blooms within the water.


Biological Sciences


Marine and Aquatic Biology

First Advisor

Dr. Kevin Neves

First Advisor Department

Biological Sciences

Second Advisor

Dr. Alexis Ostrowski

Second Advisor Department


Publication Date

Winter 12-11-2020