Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Fredrick D. Siewers (Director), Aaron J. Celestian, Jennifer M. Cole, John Andersland

Degree Program

Department of Geography and Geology

Degree Type

Master of Science


Ostracodes, bi-valved crustaceans, are potentially excellent proxies for salinity.They are abundant, react to changes in salinity, and secrete low-magnesium calcite shells that preserve information about their host water chemistry. Changes in valve trace element concentration, stable isotope composition, and sieve pore shape values have been linked to changes in salinity. This study analyzed the response of the euryhaline ostracode, Cyprideis americana, to salinity in six lakes from two Bahamian islands across two seasons. The purpose of this work was to determine which compositional and morphological variables in C. americana are the most useful for paleosalinity reconstructions.Ostracode and water samples were collected from lakes of varying water chemistry on San Salvador Island (winter and summer seasons), and Exuma (winter season). Dissolved oxygen, pH, salinity, and temperature measurements were taken for each lake. The best-preserved valves from each lake were analyzed for sieve pore circularity, Mg and Ca concentrations, and δ18 O isotopic composition. Mg/Ca ratios and Kd[Mg] values were calculated for each lake. Each parameter was plotted against salinity for all of the lakes and for lakes from each season and island. Only the samples collected during the summer followed expected trends: with increases in lake water salinity, Mg/Ca ratio decreased, δ18 O composition increased, and sieve pore circularity decreased. Samples collected from the winter field sessions did not follow expected trends, potentially due to the breeding and moulting habits of C. americana. Temperature was more correlative with valve composition than a previous study of C. americana suggests, but is supportive of similar correlations of Cyprideis species in continental and other island settings. The valve Mg/Ca ratio and mean sieve pore circularity showed the best correlation with salinity and are the variables that will be most useful in paleosalinity studies from sediment cores. Future work should further investigate the relationship between mean sieve pore circularity and lake salinity as well as the breeding and moulting habits of C. americana. Such work may allow for past salinity ranges to be reconstructed from fossil C. americana samples.


Biogeochemistry | Environmental Sciences | Hydrology | Other Earth Sciences | Physical and Environmental Geography