Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Water quality of ponds at Edwardsville's Watershed Nature Center
by Sage, April, P.S.M., Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, 2014, 117; 1571647
Abstract (Summary)

Water quality problems, as a result of human activities, have become a worldwide concern. Excess nitrogen and phosphorus entering waters from crop runoff, treated sewage plant effluent, and other industrial sources are leading to increased eutrophication in lakes and "dead zones" in oceans. High levels of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus can cause algal blooms that result in decreased dissolved oxygen levels. When the blooms consist of cyanobacteria, the problem is even worse. These bacteria form a toxic secondary metabolite that can harm or kill fish and other vertebrates. When nitrogen in a lake is limited, some cyanobacteria can "fix" their own from the atmosphere, so phosphorus pollution is the main contributing factor to cyanobacterial blooms. The problem is being addressed globally by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), nationally by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and locally by communities and concerned citizens.

When the Watershed Nature Center (WNC) began, the plan was to restore the biodiversity of an ecosystem and to create a functioning wetland. In order to do this, a certain level of water quality is needed. Once established, the ongoing success or failure of this restoration project would be measured through water quality study and analysis. This is the purpose of this study. To evaluate this quality, measurements of field parameters including dissolved oxygen, water pH and temperature were taken at several locations. Water grab samples were collected at a water inflow and outflow point. They were also collected at stationary points in the two ponds of the WNC. The study examined variations in the nitrogen to phosphorus levels as a result of rain. Results indicated that, as a whole, the amount of rain does not have a statistically-significant effect on the ratio of nitrogen to phosphorus. The degree to which levels of total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus (TP), total dissolved solids (TDS) and water pH were affected by locations in the lakes, and seasons were also examined. In the entire lake ecosystem, the highest ratio of TN:TP was in the autumn and lowest was in summer. These results supported the hypothesis that the levels change with the seasons. The variables were compared from their level at input sites to their levels at output to determine if the Watershed Nature Center is acting as a nutrient sink. The results showed evidence of some nutrient trapping, especially of phosphorus. Correlation analysis suggested that the variation in phosphorus and total dissolved solids may be driven by variation of these constituents in water inflows.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Theodorakis, Christopher
Commitee: Brugam, Richard, Rehg, Jennifer, Schulz, Kurt
School: Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
Department: Biological Sciences
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: MAI 54/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Ecology, Hydrologic sciences, Conservation, Environmental management, Environmental science, Limnology
Keywords: Environment, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Water quality
Publication Number: 1571647
ISBN: 9781321435047
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