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Latoya Jackson - Protistan Ecology Lab

Howard University, Washington, DC

It is known that various phytoplankton species are affected by variant temperature and nutrient levels but there have not been as many studies detailing the effect of salinity on phytoplankton. The main focus of my work was to observe how salinity affects phytoplankton susceptibility to a viral concentrate. I observed the growth and death rates of each phytoplankton species at various salinities and compared inoculated cultures to controlled cultures. By using a fluorometer I was able to compare fluorescence values and determine which cultures were impacted by the viral concentrate. After comparing the fluorescence of the inoculated cultures to the control cultures the results showed that the affect of salinity on the susceptibility of Chesapeake Bay phytoplankton to viral infection varies among different species. My research demonstrated that certain species of phytoplankton were more susceptible to viral infection at higher salinities while others were more susceptible at lower salinities.

After completing my bachelors degree in biology I plan to attend medical school and pursue a career in the field of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Funding provided by National Science Foundation-REU