Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Paul Bukaveckas


Investigating linkages between the compositions of suspended (seston) and benthic particulate matter is important to the understanding of organic matter (OM) cycling and nutrient retention in aquatic systems. We compared the quantity and quality of the truly suspended (TS) and settleable (SB) fractions of seston as well as benthic particulate matter in the tidal freshwater James River, Virginia. The mass of seston and OM was consistently higher in the TS fraction compared to the SB fraction. OM was preferentially retained in the TS fraction relative to seston. The proportional contribution of OM constituents (chlorophyll a, particulate organic carbon and nitrogen) to the two fractions was consistent across observed concentrations whereas increases in seston concentration resulted in decreased proportions in the TS fraction. Benthic constituent reservoirs were large relative to the SB fraction but the higher proportion of OM in the SB fraction suggests that the settleable material was more labile.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

December 2011

Included in

Biology Commons