Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Biology (B.S.B.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Jennifer Zettler


When an aquatic ecosystem becomes oversaturated with nutrients, algae in the water utilize the excess nitrogen and phosphorus present and grow uncontrollably. This creates algal blooms on the surface of the water that deplete oxygen levels in the water and kill numerous organisms in the process. One method used to solve this issue is through Algal Turf Scrubber (ATS) technology: a natural wastewater treatment process in which water polluted with excess nitrogen and phosphorus is pumped across a floway to be absorbed by a culture of algae before it flows out of the system. The algal biomass is harvested periodically but can itself be a waste product that is sent to landfills. It was observed that when the biomass dries, it forms a clay-like brick. The purpose of this project was to find a potential use for this dried waste product, namely in making a suitable substrate for oyster settlement and growth. The raw algal biomass was poured into plaster molds to manufacture pre-formed shapes, and were set out on a floating dock along with concrete and tile controls to determine its suitability for settlement. After a period of time, the substrates were collected, and the masses of the settled organisms on each condition were measured and compared. The results indicate that although oysters were not observed in the organism collection, the algal waste biomass can be used to create a suitable substrate for settlement of various aquatic fouling organisms.

Included in

Biology Commons