Urease Activity Across Ecosystems

Excess nitrogen and phosphorous runoff into estuaries arising from agriculture and urban/suburban development is causing large algal blooms, which at times can be harmful to fish and humans. Dr. Solomon's work focuses on investigating how these algae utilize different forms of nitrogen to better understand how to prevent these detrimental algal blooms.

Dr. Solomon's project is an ongoing collaboration with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, where Dr. Solomon is an adjunct; Rochester Institute of Technology, Bigelow Laboratory, and State University of New York-Stonybrook. Previously she has also collaborated with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.

Students working with Dr. Solomon quickly become familiar with algal culturing techniques, including preparing different types of freshwater and saltwater media and measuring growth rates of algal cultures via fluorometry and epifluorescent microscopy. Students also measure urease enzyme activity using spectrophotometry.  Dr. Solomon often goes out into the field to collect bacterial and algal samples and measure environmental parameters in situ including salinity, temperature, and light levels.