Defense Date

2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Leonard A. Smock

Abstract

Excess fine sediment from human activity is a major pollutant to streams across the U.S.; however, distinguishing human-induced sedimentation from natural fine sediment is complex. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently implemented a protocol for the quantitative field assessment of human-induced sedimentation using measurements of stream geomorphology. Macroinvertebrate community composition, streambed sediment stability, and sediment composition were studied at 49 sites in the James River watershed in central Virginia. Sediment composition was found to be a stronger driver of community composition than sediment stability. Although I was not able to show that macroinvertebrate metrics were related to sediment stability independently of actual fine sediment composition, some metrics, including percent Ephemeridae, a family of burrowing mayflies (order = Ephemeroptera) show promise as valuable tools for regional biologists and resource managers to discriminate among streams considered impaired for sediment pollution.

Rights

© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

November 2012

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