Scholar: Amy Carl-Hodgkins
Major: Wildlife Ecology & Conservation
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Sudeep Chandra; Chris Jannusch
Research Topic: "Characterizing Temporal and Spatial Variability In Water Chemistry and Invertebrate Community Assemblage Within And Among Three Great Basin Sub-montane Streams"
Abstract: Benthic macroinvertebrate (BMI) communities and water chemistry data were collected at sites above and below two beaver impoundments in Big Creek, in the Toiyabe Mountain Range of central Nevada.
The purpose of this research was to characterize the impact of geomorphologic disturbances created by beaver impoundments on stream health. Stream health was assessed by estimating the level of organic pollutants in reaches of Big Creek above and below beaver impoundments using Hilsenhoff's Family Biotic Index (FBI). Using this index family level invertebrate taxa are assigned tolerance values from 0 to 10 (intolerant to tolerant). Healthy streams are generally comprised of intolerant assemblages of invertebrates.
FBI data revealed slightly impaired stream condition downstream of beaver impoundments (at α =0.10). In addition site-specific diversity, dominance values, and distribution of functional feeding groups suggests slightly impaired stream health downstream of beaver impoundments. The findings of this research appear to be due to the greater abundance of pollution intolerant species at upstream sites compared to downstream sites rather than the presence of pollution tolerant species downstream of impoundments.
Earned Baccalaureate Degree: Fall, 2007