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September 20, 2012

Integration of water-column and benthic processes

Name: Ruba Mohamed
Major: Civil and environmental engineering
Department: CEE
Graduation date: Summer 2012 (MS)
Title: Integration of water-column and benthic processes and their effect on dissolved oxygen fluctuations in small northern Utah streams

Dissolved oxygen (DO) is an important element for aquatic organisms as it is used for respiration by most organisms. Certain concentrations of DO are required in aquatic ecosystems depending on the type and needs of the aquatic organisms. In general, DO concentrations less than 5 mg/L stress many types of aquatic organisms including fishes. In order to maintain DO concentration above the stress level, respiration is one of the factors that should be maintained by controlling the excess growth of aquatic plants. Many factors cause the outbreak of plant growth, including abundance of nutrients and presence of sun light. In this research we studied the primary production and respiration rates at three streams flow in Northern Utah, USA. The study includes estimation of the primary production and respiration rates, studying the factors that control the rates, analyzing the effect of the respective rates on other parameters in the streams, and comparing two methods to estimate the rates. The first method is based on field measurements, which gives a direct estimate of primary production and respiration rates. The second method is based on a model that gives an indirect estimate of the rates. This study approves the convenience of using the easier and time saving modeling method as a substitute of the field measurement method.