Environmental Influences on Bacterio-phytoplanktonic Coupling and Bacterial Growth Efficiency in a Sub-tropical Estuary

Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Studies

First Advisor's Name

Dr. Joseph N. Boyer

First Advisor's Committee Title


Second Advisor's Name

Dr. Leonard J. Scinto

Second Advisor's Committee Title



Florida Bay, coupling, primary productivity, bacterial productivity, bacterial growth efficiency

Date of Defense



Bacterio-phytoplanktonic coupling and bacterial growth efficiency (BGE) measurements were used to analyze microbial trophic dynamics and the influence of environmental factors in Florida Bay, Florida. Phytoplankton gross primary productivity (GPP) was measured using 24-hour in situ oxygen incubations; bacterial productivity (BP) was measured using 3H- thymidine incorporation. Weak bacterio-phytoplanktonic coupling was observed over the sampling period. BP was more influenced by local total nitrogen concentrations while GPP was more evenly distributed. BGE rates were low but consistent with marine and estuarine ecosystems worldwide. Results suggest that bacterioplankton growth in Florida Bay is relatively uncoupled from phytoplankton production, which may be due in part to the low levels of phytoplankton biomass in the water column, the large amount of seagrass-derived DOM production in this shallow lagoon, the loading of nitrogen and organic matter associated with terrestrial runoff, and/or their combination.




National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) data collection was funded by NOAA Center for Sponsored Coastal Research (1999-2005), US Army Corps of Engineers (2006-2010); and most recently by NOAA Deepwater Horizon supplemental funds. Florida International University (FIU) Southeast Environmental Research Center (SERC) data collection was funded by NOAA (1991-2008). The Florida Coastal Everglades (FCE) Long Term Ecological Restoration (LTER) water quality sampling was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). I would like to thank my graduate committee, Dr. Boyer, Dr. Kelble, Dr. Scinto and Dr. Anderson for imparting their knowledge and dedicating their time. I would also like to thank my AOML co-workers, Lindsey Visser, George Berberian, Shaun Dolk and Grant Rawson and FIU staff, Jeff Absten, Pat Given and Sandro Stumpf for their support of the project.

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