Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

David K. Stevens


David K. Stevens


Nancy O. Mesner


Jeffrey S. Horsburgh


Maintaining optimum levels of dissolved oxygen (DO) in natural water systems has become crucial for scientists and decision makers. In general, DO concentrations less than 5 mg/L stress many types of aquatic organisms including fishes. Uncontrolled growth of aquatic autotrophs (i.e., algae and macrophytes) may alter DO concentration if the growth exceeded the capacity of the aquatic food web structure. Primary production and respiration, the two main metabolic processes associated with aquatic autotrophs, were estimated, compared, and critiqued for three streams in Northern Utah, USA. These streams have been under consideration for many years due to their impaired water quality, as they supply water to Cutler Reservoir, the sink of all the transported sediment and nutrients. This study includes estimation of the metabolic rates, examination of the driving/limiting factors, examination of the consequences of the relevant rates on water quality, and a comparison of two methods of estimation of the metabolic rates.

The outcome of this research will help scientists and decision makers build knowledgeable strategies to manage DO in the streams based on the given critiques on the cause and effect of the respective metabolic rates. It will also help reduce the cost and time associated with the frequent need to use physical field measurements to estimate metabolic rates in rivers and streams.




This work made publicly available electronically on September 20, 2012.