Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

R/IS-06 A

Measuring the transfer, dynamics, and risk of invasion for microbial communities associated with ballast water of ships

Principal Investigator: 

Gregory M. Ruiz

Start/End Year: 

1998 to 2001


Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

Co-Principal investigator: 

Fred C. Dobbs, Old Dominion University; Anson H. Hines, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center


Our overall objective is to characterize the transfer, dynamics, and potential to invade for microbial communities associated with ballast water of ships. More specifically, our study will: Measure the abundance, biomass, growth and carbon-source utilization patterns of bacteria that arrive in ballast water as a function of source region, voyage duration, and specific water characteristics (e.g., temperature, salinity, macro-plankton abundance and diversity); Measure changes in microbial community characteristics of ballast water during voyages, including the effects of current ballast management practices on these communities; Measure the specificity and functional relationships between Vibrio spp. and selected macrozooplankton species; Assess the invasibility of Chesapeake Bay to microbial organisms (especially Vibrio spp.) that arrive in ballast water.