The full text of this item is not available at this time because the student has placed this item under an embargo for a period of time. The Libraries are not authorized to provide a copy of this work during the embargo period, even for Texas A&M users with NetID.
Ecosystem under Pressure: Examining the Phytoplankton Community in the High Ballast Water Discharge Environment of Galveston Bay, Texas (USA)
MetadataShow full item record
With steady growth in global commerce and intensified ship traffic worldwide, comes the increased risk of invasion by non-indigenous organisms. Annually, >7000 vessels traveled across Galveston Bay, Texas from 2005-2010. These vessels discharged ~106 million metric tons of ballast water, equivalent to ~3.4% of the total volume of the Bay. A majority of these discharging vessels originated from around the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. By evaluating the source and frequency of inoculations from various locations, we are striving to assess the invasibility risk to Galveston Bay by way of ballast water. We identified organisms from Galveston Bay, ballast water samples and growout experiments using molecular methods. To our knowledge, this is the first utilization of molecular methods to identify the phytoplankton community within Galveston Bay. Within Galveston Bay, we identified 15 genera of dinoflagellates, 2 of which have previously gone undetected including Takayama and Woloszynskia. Thirteen ballast water samples yielded twenty genera of Protists, Fungi or Animalia from at least ten different phyla. With more than seven genera identified, dinoflagellates were the most diverse group: including the known toxin producer Pfiesteria and Scrippsiella which has not previously been detected in Galveston Bay. The most common diatoms in the ballast water samples were Actinocyclus, Ditylum, Nitzschia, Stephanopyxis and Thalassiosirales. At the termination of the growout experiments eight genera of phytoplankton were identified including: Dinophysis, Gymnodinium, Gyrodinium, Heterocapsa, Peridinium, Scrippsiella, Chaetoceros and Nitzschia. With these findings, Galveston Bay has the potential to be both a recipient and donor region of dinoflagellates. Dinoflagellates, capable of forming harmful algal blooms leading to fish and shellfish kills, are being transported to Galveston Bay via ballast water. Our results suggest that Galveston Bay is at risk for invasive species introductions via ballast water and support the idea that a monitoring system within the ports as well as the bay should be put in place. The actions would help to maintain the current health of this ecosystem and aide in preventing a negative impact in the event of successful establishment of a non-indigenous species of phytoplankton transported to Galveston Bay via ballast water.
Steichen, Jamie L (2013). Ecosystem under Pressure: Examining the Phytoplankton Community in the High Ballast Water Discharge Environment of Galveston Bay, Texas (USA). Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from