Phytoplankton Diversity and Abundance in UBC Freshwater Sources

  • Richard Lau
  • Maya Liepert
  • Jason Lu
  • Maryam Oraei


In this study, we conducted a question-based project to investigate the relative abundance of phytoplankton in the Botanical Garden, Nitobe Memorial Garden, main fountain, fountain near bookstore, and two fountains near the Beaty Biodiversity Museum at the University of British Columbia. We also wanted to see if there was a correlation between oxygen concentration and the phytoplankton abundance, given there was reasonable differences between the sites. We collected samples of water from each location and observed the samples under a compound microscope to determine the different species present and abundance of each. Using Shannon’s Diversity Index, we found that Nitobe Garden had a diversity of 1.2754 and the highest abundance of 300 individuals, Botanical Garden had a diversity of 1.0397 and 4 number of individuals, the Bookstore fountain had a diversity of 0.6098 and 44 number of individuals, and no species were observed in the main fountain and the two Beaty fountains. As well, we measured the oxygen concentration at each location and observed relatively similar values across the locations. A Pearson’s correlation test between the oxygen concentrations and phytoplankton abundance at each location revealed no significant correlation (R = 0.54892, p = 0.63008). Finally, Nitobe Garden was observed with the highest diversity and highest abundance of individuals, therefore, we would predict that it would be the most favourable freshwater source for salmon among the locations we sampled.