Date of Award

Spring 5-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

MS Microbiology




Tinchun Chu, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Daniel B. Nichols, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Angela V. Klaus, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Heping Zhou, Ph.D.


Metagenomics, Barnegat Bay, Flow Cytometry, Cyanobacteria, Algal Bloom


Cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (CHAB), caused by eutrophication, is known to threaten both wildlife and human health. Barnegat Bay, also home to Oyster Creek nuclear power plant, has experienced an elevated levels of nitrogen due to human activity such as recreational activity and urbanization. This has caused an increase of CHAB’s at a more frequent rate within Barnegat Bay. In order to detect possible CHAB causing cyanobacteria, water samples were collected from 12 different locations within Barnegat Bay. Each sample was filtered through a 30- and 0.4-mm polycarbonate filter sequentially. Chelex DNA extraction, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and gel electrophoresis were then performed for all sites using the four primer sets 27fB/785r, PSf/Ur, CYA359f/CYA781r, and MSf/MSr. Flow cytometry was carried out for the filtrate between 0.4 and 30 mm. CLC Genomics Workbench was used in order to determine cyanobacteria and bacterial composition within each site. PCR-based assays suggested that general cyanobacteria as well as phytospecific species were present for all sites but no toxin-producing M. aeruginosa were detected. Flow cytometric results indicated the water samples contained a wide range of cyanobacteria, including Microcystis aeruginosa, Cylindrospermum spp.,Anabaena spp., and Synechococcus sp. IU 625. Metagenomics displayed that thermal pollution can indeed alter the bacterial community composition.