Andrea Drzewianowski - Phytoplankton Lab

Goucher College, Towson, MD

My internship at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center began with a drive down one of the longest twisted gravel roads I have ever encountered.  Since my arrival twelve weeks ago I have been working with Dr. Kevin Sellner, Director of the Chesapeake Research Consortium, and the Phytoplankton Lab on an independent project.  My project has been to examine the effects of dissolved inorganic nitrogen substrates on summer Rhode River phytoplankton. I have been growing river phytoplankton samples by enriching collected assemblages with all of the nutrients and vitamins required for normal phytoplankton growth with the exception of nitrogen.  I have provided samples with one of three nitrogen sources, ammonia, nitrate, or urea, to determine the effects of these different nitrogen sources on the culture’s rate of growth and total biomass and species composition of the phytoplankton assemblages.  I am hoping to see a change in composition of the assemblage, which would suggest that some phytoplankton species favor one source of nitrogen over another.

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