Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2015

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School



Biological Sciences

Program or Major

Biomedical Science: Medical & Veterinary Science

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

First Advisor

James Haney

Second Advisor

Amanda Murby


Aerosolization of toxic cyanobacteria released from the surface of lakes is a new area of study that could uncover a previously unknown route of exposure to toxic cyanobacteria. Since toxic cyanobacteria may be responsible for adverse human health effects, methods and equipment need to be tested and established for monitoring these airborne bacteria. The primary focus of this study was to create controlled laboratory experiments that simulate natural lake aerosol production. I set out to test for the best type of filter to collect and analyze the aerosolized cells as small as 0.2-2.0 µm, known as picoplankton. To collect these aerosols, air was vacuumed from just above a sample of lake water passing through either glass fiber filters (GFF) or 0.22 µm MF-Millipore™ membrane filters (0.22 Millipore™). Filter collections were analyzed through epiflourescence microscopy for determining cell counts. Data analysis revealed that 0.22 Millipore™ filters were the best option for cell enumeration providing better epiflourescence optical quality and higher cell counts.