Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Oceanography



First Advisor

Scott W. Nixon


I could simplify this section by thanking anyone who knows me and has heard the phrase "Nitrification is the bacterially-mediated oxidation of ammonium to nitrite and then nitrate" often enough to almost have memorized it. But those people deserve more recognition.

First, I would like to thank my major professor, Dr. Scott W. Nixon, for directing my attention towards estuarine nitrification, for advice, guidance and laboratory space during the years, for reminding me to put my work into a larger perspective, and for always urging me to make my science and my writing as rigorous and as complete as possible. My other committee members, Dr. Richard J. Hull, Dr. Michael E. Q. Pilson, and Dr. John McN. Sieburth, have emiched me and my science with their advice and individual viewpoints. I thank my whole committee for their encouragement through the many years that this dissertation developed. I would also like to thank Dr. Peter M. Groffman and Dr. Candace A. Oviatt for being on my defense committee, and for valuable and appreciated discussions.

A number of other people at the Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) have influenced my work. I thank Jonathan Garber, who brought me to GSO as a research assistant, and was patient while I learned nutrient chemistry and 15N techniques. Jonathan, Scott and Sybil Seitzinger opened to me the Pandora's Box that is the nitrogen cycle and the Narragansett Bay ecosystem. Past and present co-workers in the Nixon lab, particularly Suzanne Bricker, Betty Buckley, Richard Chinman, Nancy Craig, Craig Doremus, Stephen Granger, Jack Kelly, Kyle Kikuchi, Pat Kremer, Jim Kremer, Julia McMahon, Jim McKenna, Andrew Milliken, Barbara Nowicki, and David Taylor, I thank for their friendship, camaraderie, advice, and helpful discussions.

Other colleagues have helped to make this research come to fruition. I owe a debt of gratitude to Nicholas J. P. Owens from the Institute for Marine Environmental Research, Plymouth, UK for our lengthy discussions on estuarine nitrification, and instructions on the bicarbonate method, that took place while he was a visiting scientist at GSO. Many thanks go to Joceline Boucher and Sheldon Pratt for their friendship over the years and their invaluable help with field and lab work: supplying equipment, expertise, and encouragement when needed. I also thank Joceline, Suzanne, Sybil, and David for patiently listening to and critiquing many of my seminars. Others I thank for their discussions and support, particularly Dale Brown, Doug Cullen, Melissa Hughes, and Susan Jackson. And I doubt I could have continued as sanely towards this degree without my frequent swims in the Bay.

Financial support for portions of this research came from several sources: Rhode Island Water Resources Project# G867-06, Rhode Island Sea Grant, and the GSO Alumni Fund. Graduate Research Assistantships in the Nixon Lab, at MERL, and on the SINBADD cruises gave financial support to me. Candace Oviatt and Jeffrey Frithsen allowed me to use the radiation laboratory at the Marine Ecosystem Research Laboratory (MERL), and other MERL personnel provided access to equipment and data.

These acknowledgements would not be complete without a large thank you to the Berounsky family, particularly my parents, who always supported and encouraged my educational endeavors, no matter how long they took to complete. I also owe many thanks to the Lee family, all of whom have been very understanding and encouraging over the years. A special thanks to Elizabeth M. J. Lee, my good-natured "co-author" for these last ten months. I hope they all will take pride in my accomplishments.

Most of all, I thank my husband, Richard M. Lee, for all his support, encouragement, sampling, sacrifices, and for just being there, from the beginning through to the final copy of this dissertation, and during all the highs and lows in between.



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