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Rice Center graduate student wins award from Atlantic Estuarine Research Society (AERS)


At the most recent Fall 2012 AERS meeting, VCU Rice Center researcher Joe Wood won the Best Graduate Student Oral Presentation Award for his presentation, “Phytoplankton consumption and Microcystin accumulation by fishes of the tidal fresh James River.”

This research focuses on algal blooms in the James River — specifically, blooms of harmful algae that produce toxins of concern for human health and aquatic organisms. So far, Joe’s work has shown that during periods of harmful algal blooms, the feeding rates of benthic filter-feeders, such as clams, are diminished, thus reducing their effectiveness in controlling algal blooms.

Joe has also shown that fish which feed in the water column, such as menhaden and gizzard shad, experience higher levels of toxin contamination than those which feed on the bottom, like juvenile catfish.