Date of Award

Summer 8-2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Biological Sciences

Committee Chair

George Pessoney

Committee Chair Department

Biological Sciences

Committee Member 2

Sherry Herron

Committee Member 2 Department

Center for Science and Math Education

Committee Member 3

Jake Schaefer

Committee Member 3 Department

Biological Sciences

Committee Member 4

Patricia Biesiot

Committee Member 4 Department

Biological Sciences

Committee Member 5

Tim Orsi

Committee Member 5 Department

Biological Sciences


A meta-analysis was done on studies that included six major taxa groups: Cyanobacteria, Chlorophyta, Chrysophyta (primarily diatoms), Euglenophyta, Pyrrophyta, and Rhodophyta and six aquatic habitats of Mississippi to determine the abundance and richness of the algal community and to identify relevant environmental drivers of algal assemblage composition. Twenty algae data sets on small order streams, large streams and rivers, lakes and reservoirs, fish production ponds, brackish water, and marine water were analyzed. Chlorophyta was dominant in lakes and reservoirs and was the most diverse taxa in the phytoplankton of small order streams and large streams and rivers. Cyanobacteria were the dominant taxa in fish production ponds, whereas diatoms were the dominant group in brackish and marine habitats. Other taxa were minor components of the phytoplankton. Nutrient input and temperature had the greatest influence on controlling phytoplankton abundance in production ponds. Temperature, salinity, and turbidity were the most important factors controlling phytoplankton periodicity and distribution in estuarine and marine water. Multivariate analyses were done by using canonical correspondence analysis to determine the environmental factors controlling the structure of the algal community in the various habitats. Temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, and alkalinity were the best predictors of algal community structure in small order streams whereas temperature, dissolved, oxygen, pH, and conductivity were the key environmental factors affecting phytoplankton structure in lakes and reservoirs.