Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Toxicology

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Peter van den Hurk

Committee Member

Dr. Cindy Lee

Committee Member

Dr. James Strickland


Maintaining water quality in reservoirs used for drinking water has been an issue in recent years due to the presence of algal blooms. Algal blooms are a perennially recurring problem that can have negative impacts on tourism, recreation, and overall water quality. Additionally, algal blooms will often produce an assortment of chemicals, some of which are hazardous to the health of humans, and some of which that, while relatively innocuous, result in unpleasant tastes and odors in water. Geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol are two taste and odor compounds that are notoriously difficult to treat out of drinking water sources by traditional methods like flocculation and screening. It is important to establish the time frame that odor causing algal blooms occur, and to determine the environmental conditions that drive excessive algal growth. Four freshwater lakes in Upstate South Carolina, Lake Whelchel, Lake Bowen, Lake Greenwood, and Lake Rabon, have had problems with cyanobacterial taste and odor compound causing blooms in recent years. Subsequently the goal of this research was to 1) establish any seasonal peaks in algal growth 2) establish any relationships between total algal growth and the presence of cyanobacteria 3) determine what, if any, environmental conditions influenced the growth of said blooms in each lake. The fourth and final project objective was to develop an ultraperformance liquid chromatography method for determining total geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol in environmental samples. While phosphorus is typically identified as the limiting nutrient in algal bloom growth, it was determined that Nitrogen, specifically ammonium and nitrates, were the primary drivers of algal blooms in sites with substantial algal growth, providing insight into how potentially harmful blooms can be managed in these drinking water sources in the future.

Included in

Biology Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.