The role of groundwater-borne nutrients in structuring the phytoplankton community

The main goal of this project is to elucidate the direct mechanisms shaping the composition and biomass of the primary producer community in Delaware’s Inland Bays.  The composition of nutrient supply is among the most important factors shaping the phytoplankton community because different species vary widely in ability to use different forms of nutrients, resulting in competitive advantages, and consequent shifts in community composition associated with nutrient availability. The amount and forms of nutrients carried by groundwater result from specific watershed nutrient sources and complex biogeochemical transformations during groundwater travel to the estuary. Using a combination of new techniques to reduce experimental artifacts, as well as molecular and stable isotopic approaches, we will determine the direct linkages between groundwater-borne and sediment regenerated nutrient loads and phytoplankton species composition.

Featured Faculty

Joanna York

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Research Assistant Professor Marine Biosciences


CEOE School & Departments

School of Marine Science & Policy

Advancing the understanding, stewardship, and conservation of estuarine, coastal, and ocean environments.

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Department of Geological Sciences

Discovering how geological processes have operated over various time scales to create and influence the planet’s surface environments.

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Department of Geography

Investigating the interactions between people and the environment and the processes that explain the location of human and natural phenomena.

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College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment • 111 Robinson Hall • Newark, DE 19716 • USA • Phone: 302-831-2841
Geography: 302-831-2294 • Geology: 302-831-2569 • Marine Science and Policy: 302-645-4212 • E-mail:

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