Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Marine Science

Major Professor

Robert H. Byrne, Ph.D.


Calibration, Volatile organic compounds, Dissolved oxygen, Dissolved nitrogen, Dissolved carbon dioxide


Since its creation in the late 19th century, mass spectrometry has evolved into one of the most versatile analytical methods in science. To chart this evolution this thesis includes a historical overview of mass spectrometry and a description of the role of mass spectrometry in oceanography. The development and deployment of underwater mass spectrometers (UMS) at the University of South Florida's Center for Ocean Technology has made possible the collection of real-time data with greatly increased spatial and temporal density. The UMS was deployed via both remotely guided surface vehicles (GSV) and ship's cables to monitor a suite of dissolved gases and volatile organic compounds in saltwater and freshwater environments. Spectrometer data in Lake Maggiore, Florida were acquired at a rate of 0.7-3.6 seconds/sample for 2-3 hours.

The resulting multi-analyte spectrometer data were recorded in real time with the Global Positioning System (GPS) observations of an associated surface vehicle and transmitted to a remote laptop computer via a wireless Ethernet link. These data were merged to create high-resolution maps of chemical distributions. Of particular interest were the co-varying oxygen and carbon dioxide mass spectrometer signals, diagnostic of photosynthesis-respiration processes, that were collected over a 10,800 square-meter area of the lake. The UMS was also deployed on a shipborne hydrowire in Saanich Inlet, a 200-meter deep fjord in the western Canadian province of British Columbia. The concentrations of a broad suite of dissolved gases were monitored on both downcast and upcast over a total depth range of 200 meters. Spectrometer data were acquired at a rate of 4.2 seconds/sample for the duration of the deployment.

Mass spectrometer signals diagnostic of reduced species (CH4, H2S,) in the anoxic waters of the inlet below a depth of 100 meters were consistent with previous descriptions of the fjord's chemistry. The UMS was deployed on a remotely guided surface vehicle on the Hillsborough River in central Hillsborough County. Spectrometer data were acquired at a rate of 0.7 seconds/sample, and geographic location was recorded by an onboard GPS during a 2,640 meter transect of the river. Prior to the deployment, the mass spectrometer was calibrated using certified gas standards. The calibration experiments correlated mass spectrometer ion intensity data with dissolved gas concentrations, whereupon the mass spectrometer data collected during the deployment were reported in units of micromole/kilogram (µmol/kg).

The mass spectrometer recorded changes in gas concentrations associated with changing physical conditions and biological activity along the 2,640 meters of the river that was transited by the GSV.