Date of Award





Master of Science

Degree Type

Master of Science in Natural Sciences - Environmental Science Track


Earth & Space Science

First Advisor

Dr. Stacey Sloan Blersch

Second Advisor

Dr. Clifton ruehl

Third Advisor

Dr. Kar'retta Venable


Urbanization alters streams, disrupting their natural habitat and inducing changes in nutrient dynamics and primary productivity. These human-induced interventions diminish ecological structure, homogenizing once-diverse ecosystems and posing a risk of impairment or destruction. Continuous monitoring of stream ecosystem metabolism emerges as an essential tool for a comprehensive understanding and effective intervention in response to these challenges. This study delves into the intricate dynamics of nutrient levels and productivity within the urbanized context of the Weracoba Creek watershed located in Columbus, Georgia, USA. Through a cross-sectional study, we explore spatial and temporal variations in nutrient concentrations (NH4, NO3, PO4, TP, TN) and productivity metrics (NPP, GPP, CR, Biomass) across four distinct stream sites. We examined site-specific productivity variations, elucidating the impacts of light dynamics, vegetation cover, and nutrient inputs. The introduction of a novel modified dark/light bottle method proposes an alternative for studying urban stream metabolism, addressing limitations inherent in traditional monitoring approaches. Descriptive statistics unveil higher productivity in lower stream sites, establishing correlations that underscore total Phosphorus (TP) as a pivotal driver of ecosystem productivity. Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) reinforces site-specific variations, emphasizing impacts of urbanization on water quality. Insights from nutrient-biomass relationships highlight the paramount importance of managing TP levels for overall ecosystem health. This result signifies urbanization's intricate ramifications, unraveling shifts in stream structure, nutrient dynamics, and biomass production. Additionally, this research underscores the value of continuous monitoring of stream ecosystem metabolism as a reliable tool for assessing and addressing the adverse impacts of urbanization on aquatic ecosystems. The study calls for future research to delve deeper into the mechanisms behind the observed correlations and explore additional factors influencing productivity in urban streams.

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Life Sciences Commons