Advisor: Elizabeth A. Canuel
B.S. Marine Biology from UNCW, Dec. 2007
B.A. Chemistry from UNCW, Dec. 2007
My Master’s research is on carbon and nitrogen cycling in shallow coastal sediments, specifically focusing on the role of single-celled algae, called benthic microalgae (BMA), through their production of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS). BMA live at the sediment-water interface, which is a dynamic location where surface waters and groundwaters, or porewaters, converge. These microalgae have been called “gate-keepers” of the sediment-water interface, and can significantly influence the flux of various carbon and nitrogen-containing compounds across this boundary. The EPS produced by the microalgae is likely to be an important link between the benthic microalgal community and the sediment microbial community. In order to trace carbon and nitrogen through the compounds utilized and produced by the BMA, we designed an apparatus called the perfusionator that would allow us to add chemical tracers (stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen) to the porewaters underneath the BMA.