Ergün Kara

Date of Award

Summer 2019

Document Type

Open Access Thesis


Chemistry and Biochemistry

First Advisor

Michael L. Myrick


Phytoplankton are the primary autotrophic organisms in the marine food web and they produce nearly half of the global oxygen as a photosynthetic by-product [1]. Through photosynthesis, phytoplankton annually fix between 30 and 50 billion metric tons of atmospheric carbon into the marine systems, which approximately accounts for 40% of total carbon fixation [2]. Furthermore, the phytoplankton population trends are important indicators of the environmental perturbations [3]. Therefore, detection and characterization of the phytoplankton species is an important goal of the science. Several spectrometric, cytometric and microscopic techniques are already employed for characterization and quantification of the phytoplankton communities [4-6]. However, all these existing techniques have disadvantages, such as being not suitable for the on-board research vessel applications or being significantly slower than the common fluorometric and spectrometric methods [5,6]. A fluorescence imaging photometer (FIP) system to collect the fluorescence images of the single cells on a flowing stream was previously developed in the research group of Dr. Michael L. Myrick at University of South Carolina [7], and it was employed for characterization of the phytoplankton species based upon the interspecific differences in their fluorescence emission intensities at some specific wavelength regions. Nevertheless, it is seen that the data collected by this FIP system contain significant level of uncertainty.

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