Marine Science

Marine Science

Senior Theses 2008

Courtney Nosach (2008) Environmental Effects on the Germination of the South Florida Submerged Macrophyte Vallisneria americana (wild celery)

Faculty Advisor: Jeannine Lessmann

This study examined the effect of the environmental conditions of temperature, salinity and light experimentally on the germination of seeds from a south Florida seagrass population of Vallisneria americana (wild celery).  Experiments were conducted within a growth chamber using a randomized block split-plot design; the main plot was temperature (30, 24, 18°C) with subplots of salinity (0, 5, 10, 15 psu) and light (presence, absence).  There was a statistically significant difference (p<0.001) among temperature treatments with more seeds germinating (final percent germinated) in higher (30°C) rather than lower temperatures regardless of either salinity and/or light levels. There was a statistically significant three-way interaction (p<0.001) among the temperature, salinity and light treatments on germination rate.  Germination rate was directly related to temperature and light, and inversely related to salinity.  Overall, germination rate was fastest in the 30°C, 0 psu, light present treatment and slowest in the 18°C, 15 psu, light treatment.  Also, time to last germination significantly increased as temperature increased (p<0.001).  Comparatively, neither the main effects nor their interactions displayed a statistically significant effect on time to first germination.  In general, these experiments suggest that V. americana seed germination will be maximized when the ambient water is at a temperature of 30°C, a salinity of <5 psu, and in the presence of light.  Therefore the recovery and long term management of V. americana within the Caloosahatchee River is dependent upon the ability of managers to maintain conditions at levels amenable to maximize seed germination.  

Student Research

Given the close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and subtropical climate, the Tampa Bay region has a high concentration of marine research and academic institutions. Because of many local connections in the Tampa Bay area, a large number of opportunities are available to our students through government and private marine agencies and laboratories, public aquaria, marine conservation institutions, environmental consulting firms, and commercial aquaculture firms.

$1Mil Renovation Project

GMSL patio

The National Science Foundation awarded Eckerd College $870,720 to renovate research spaces within the Galbraith Marine Science Laboratory during the summer of 2011. Eckerd contributions to the project bring the total renovation budget to over $1 million. Learn more.