Influence of native freshwater mussel functional traits and community structure on nitrogen removal in stream sediments

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dc.contributor Mortazavi, Behzad
dc.contributor Findlay, Robert H.
dc.contributor Davis, Lisa
dc.contributor.advisor Atkinson, Carla L. Nickerson, Zachary Lynn 2019-02-12T14:31:33Z 2019-02-12T14:31:33Z 2018
dc.identifier.other u0015_0000001_0003215
dc.identifier.other Nickerson_alatus_0004M_13638
dc.description Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
dc.description.abstract Animals physically and chemically modify their environment as a result of their functional traits. These effects are particularly influential in freshwater benthic environments where animal aggregations can impact the recycling and repackaging of major macronutrients. I examined the influence of native freshwater mussels (Bivalvia: Unionidae) on the removal of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (N) via the biogeochemical pathways of denitrification and annamox in freshwater sediments. In one experiment, I used continuous flow-through incubation methods to assess the influence of individual mussel physiological traits (ammonium [NH4+] excretion, organic matter [OM] biodeposition) on N-removal in stream sediments. In the second experiment of my thesis, I manipulated the biodiversity of mussel aggregations in their natural environment using in-situ stream benthic enclosures to assess the influence of mussel aggregations, associated functional traits, and the effect of mussel biodiversity on N-removal. Incubation results showed NH4+ excretion increased the ambient flux of dinitrogen gas (N2) across the sediment-water interface, while OM biodeposition increased the maximum N-removal potential in the sediment. Results of the in-stream enclosure experiment showed there were non-additive effects of mussel biodiversity on N-removal in stream sediments. Results suggested this effect was driven by an increase in biological activity (movement, burrowing), potentially driven by inter-specific competition among species with different niche requirements. My thesis research advances the field by linking specific mussel functional traits to an important ecosystem function, N-removal, and showing the importance of incorporating biodiversity into aggregate-scale studies of organisms’ influences on biogeochemical ecosystem processes.
dc.format.extent 123 p.
dc.format.medium electronic
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language English
dc.language.iso en_US
dc.publisher University of Alabama Libraries
dc.relation.ispartof The University of Alabama Electronic Theses and Dissertations
dc.relation.ispartof The University of Alabama Libraries Digital Collections
dc.relation.hasversion born digital
dc.rights All rights reserved by the author unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subject.other Ecology
dc.subject.other Biogeochemistry
dc.subject.other Environmental science
dc.title Influence of native freshwater mussel functional traits and community structure on nitrogen removal in stream sediments
dc.type thesis
dc.type text University of Alabama. Department of Biological Sciences Biological Sciences The University of Alabama master's M.S.

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