Date of Award:

5-2008

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Watershed Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

Michelle A Baker

Committee

Michelle A Baker

Committee

Helga Van Miegroet

Committee

Tamao Kasahara

Abstract

I studied nine streams near Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, covering a land use gradient (urban, agricultural, and forested) to assess influences of land use on denitrification rates and hyporheic exchange. I hypothesized denitrification in the hyporheic zone is governed by availability of chemical substrates and hydrologic transport. I tested this hypothesis by coupling measurements of denitrification potentials in hyporheic sediments with a 2-storage zone solute transport model. Denitrification potentials were lowest on average in hyporheic sediments from forested streams and highest from agricultural streams. Modeling results suggest, on average, agricultural sites are transport-limited by having the slowest exchange rate with hyporheic zone and longest transport before entering storage. Land use influences the capacity for hyporheic denitrification in two ways 1) agricultural and urban practices supply substrates that build the microbial potential for denitrification and 2) agricultural and urban activities alter channel form and substrates, limiting hyporheic exchange.

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