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Student Research Projects

Effects of body mass, tidal immersion and temperature on nutrient cycling of Geukensia demissa.

Student Jeff Illinik
Faculty Mentor(s) Dr. Maynard Schaus
Department Biology
Course BIO 489: Research in the Natural Sciences

Abstract

Geukensia demissa is an abundant filter feeder that may have
important effects on nutrient cycling within East Coast salt marshes. This species is thought to interact mutualistically with salt marsh cordgrass (S. alterniflora), as nutrient cycling by mussels fertilizes
the cordgrass, which provides attachment sites for mussels. We investigated phosphorus excretion and fecal deposition by G. demissa in the Lafayette River, Norfolk, VA, including how mussel mass and tidal immersion may impact rates of phosphorus cycling. Mussels were collected, cleaned, and placed in bags containing filtered estuarine
water, which was later analyzed for PO4 using the molybdenum blue technique. The results of the experiment showed a significant negative correlation between mussel dry mass and mass-specific phosphorus excretion and feces production. Lastly, we also observed a significant
decrease in phosphorus release and feces production with increased time since tidal immersion.

Conferences

Illinik, J.J., R.E. Illinik and M.H. Schaus. 2011. Effects of tidal immersion, temperature and body mass on nutrient cycling of Geukensia demissa. Association of Southeastern Biologists, Athens, GA, April 2012.

Illinik, J.J., R.E. Illinik and M.H. Schaus. 2011. Effects of tidal immersion and body mass on Phosphorus cycling of Geukensia demissa. Tidewater Chapter of Sigma Xi, Christopher Newport University, Nov. 2011.

Illinik, J.J., R.E. Illinik and M.H. Schaus. 2011. Effects of tidal immersion and body mass on Phosphorus cycling of Geukensia demissa. MARCUS, Sweet Briar College, Oct. 2011.

 

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