Date of Award
Director of Thesis
Zooplankton are pelagic aquatic animals that are limited in their movements by the water currents around them and are major links in aquatic food webs between primary producers and higher trophic levels. Their populations are temporally and spatially variable, as they are sensitive to changes in salinity, temperature, and dissolved oxygen. This is especially true in highly dynamic environments, like estuaries, where environmental conditions are highly variable across seasonal and daily cycles. In order to examine the variability in zooplankton populations across a tidal cycle, we collected zooplankton samples from North Inlet Estuary at 30-minute intervals over a half tidal cycle in July 2019. These zooplankton samples were analyzed by conducting taxonomic identification and abundance estimates. These abundances were then compared to changes in tidal stage and environmental parameters within the estuary. Major taxa all had peak abundance when water height was 1.13 meters while the only major correlation with environmental factors was zoea with a 0.51 r-squared value against surface salinity. The trends observed across the tidal cycle were like those seen in a 1996 study at the same location.
Jacobs, Jamaal, "Cyclic Fluctuations of Zooplankton Dynamics in a Tidal Salt-Marsh Basin" (2021). Senior Theses. 444.