Document Type

Thesis

Date of Degree

Spring 2015

Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Degree In

Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Craig L. Just

Abstract

Freshwater mussels are a viable option to detect real-time changes in water quality within aquatic ecosystems. Known as ecosystem engineers, freshwater mussels are constantly filtering particles and recycling nutrients in the benthic community. Therefore, identifying their physiological responses to alterations in water quality will enable mussels to not only serve as biomonitors but help model their impact on nitrogen cycle. This research focuses on identifying how mussel gape and heart rate respond to the addition of phytoplankton following a period of limited food availability. Immediately following phytoplankton addition, mussels show a decreased gape position linked with changes heart rate. As the gape returns to an open position, overlying ammonia concentrations increase showing an end of the metabolism process. As a result, pairing physiological changes with increased concentrations of phytoplankton, freshwater mussels' impact on ammonium concentrations can be accurately predicted. By inputting experimental excretion rates combined with variations in gape position, dynamic models will be simulate ammonium concentrations in the overlying water.

Public Abstract

Freshwater mussels are a viable option to detect real-time changes in water quality within aquatic ecosystems. Known as ecosystem engineers, freshwater mussels are constantly filtering particles and recycling nutrients in the benthic community. Therefore, identifying their physiological responses to alterations in water quality will enable mussels to not only serve as biomonitors but help model their impact on nitrogen cycle. This research focuses on identifying how mussel gape and heart rate respond to the addition of phytoplankton following a period of limited food availability. Immediately following phytoplankton addition, mussels show a decreased gape position linked with changes heart rate. As the gape returns to an open position, overlying ammonia concentrations increase showing an end of the metabolism process. As a result, pairing physiological changes with increased concentrations of phytoplankton, freshwater mussels’ impact on ammonium concentrations can be accurately predicted. By inputting experimental excretion rates combined with variations in gape position, dynamic models will be simulate ammonium concentrations in the overlying water.

Keywords

publicabstract, Excretion Rate, Freshwater Mussels, Gape Response, Heart Rate

Pages

xii, 87

Bibliography

83-87

Copyright

Copyright 2015 Lee Hauser

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