Year of Publication

2015

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. Jonathan Phillips

Abstract

Recent studies within the past decade or so have shown the importance of algae in geomorphic and hydrologic processes of lotic systems. However, the ecohydraulic role of algae in bedrock systems has largely been ignored. In addition, the utility of algae as indicators of channel dynamics have often been assumed by geomorphologists, but relatively few studies have examined this relationship. The purpose of this study was to determine whether algae, specifically diatoms, are useful indicators of channel geomorphological dynamics, and to examine if distinct habitats or biotopes typical in fluviokarst and bedrock systems provide unique habitat space for diatoms, and to address the potential ecohydraulic implications. The investigation was performed in a 100 m reach of Shawnee Run, a limestone, fluviokarst tributary to the Kentucky River in Mercer County, KY. The results of the study showed that periphyton are not useful indicators of channel dynamics, and that biotopes and other distinct habitats, including riffles, bedforms, and fine sediment, do not provide unique habitat in terms of diatom community composition.

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