Graduation Year

2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.

Degree Granting Department

Geography

Major Professor

Graham Tobin, Ph.D.

Keywords

LDI, Nutrients, Diel variation, TMDL, SCI

Abstract

Land uses dominated by human activity can have a significant effect on ecological processes. In Florida, oxygen depletion is the most common impairment in lake, stream, and coastal water bodies. The continual growth and development in Florida, along with a conversion to more human intense land uses warrants study and discussion on impacts to dissolved oxygen regimes along a gradient of human disturbance. This research study is designed to identify observable trends in dissolved oxygen regimes along a gradient of increasing human intensity. Twenty-six stations in the Tampa Bay area were selected to represent lotic systems in west-central Florida. Data was collected quarterly, during four-day deployments, using a deployable data sonde. Grab samples for nutrients and chlorophyll-a provided antecedent data to explain observed trends. Physical components of streams, such as channelization were also taken into account. Biological integrity of streams was assessed to identify if altered dissolved oxygen regimes as a result of human land use significantly affect the health of the systems. Analysis included the use of Spearman rank order correlations to identify patterns. Dissolved oxygen regimes were correlated with the Landscape Development Intensity Index (LDI). Nutrients, primary productivity, and physical alteration to the streambed play a significant role in understanding how land use affects dissolved oxygen regimes. Results indicate the intensity of human land use has a significant effect on dissolved oxygen regimes and has significant policy implications for Florida's Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program. Diel variation in oxygen measurements may be a more appropriate indicator of impairment and stream biological integrity.

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