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Effects of Water Quality, Instream Toxicity, and Habitat Variability on Fish Assemblages in the Trinity River, Texas

Description: The Trinity River flows through the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex in north central Texas where it receives effluents from numerous point sources including seven large regional wastewater treatment facilities. Historically, the Trinity River has been impacted by massive wastewater loadings which often constitute > 80% of the total river discharge during low flow periods. Normally, high mass loadings correspond to the summer months, compounding the effects of a naturally stressful period, characterized by high temperatures and low dissolved oxygen concentrations. Samples from 12 stations were collected quarterly over an 18 month period from the Trinity River and two tributaries. Water samples were analyzed for a variety of water quality variables, including metals, priority pollutants, pesticides, and general water quality parameters. Water samples were also tested for acute and subchronic effects with several test species. Fish were collected at each station and assemblages were characterized using traditional classification techniques and the Index of Biotic Integrity. In addition, sediment samples were assessed for toxic effects which could have adversely impacted fish recruitment and in situ biomonitoring experiments were performed. Quantitative habitat characterization analyses were performed to gain additional information that could possibly explains differences in fish assemblage structure related to habitat variability. Data were analyzed using regression, univariate, multivariate, and descriptive statistical techniques and new approaches for analyzing impact assessment data were discussed. Results indicated that the most substantial impacts on fish assemblages were confined to a segment of the river where a sequence of point sources, in close proximity to each other, were overloading the river's capacity to sufficiently dilute and/or detoxify the effluent. Data also indicated the presence of episodic toxicity from nonpoint sources. In addition, toxic effects in sediment samples and differences in habitat were detected and may have contributed to measured differences among fish assemblages in the Trinity River.
Date: December 1989
Creator: Arnold, Winfred R., 1960-

Pre-Impoundment Estimations of Nutrient Loading to Ray Roberts Lake and Prediction of Post-Inundation Trophic Status

Description: Excessive nutrient loading of natural and artificial lakes has led, in some systems, to plethoric algal and aquatic macrophyte growth which can result in aesthetic degradation and undesirable tastes and odors. It would be advantageous to have some indication of the potential trophic status of a reservoir before it is filled. An objective of this study was to assess the water quality and nutrient loading potential of the tributaries entering Ray Roberts Lake, a large reservoir located in north central Texas. Samples from a maximum of thirteen sites were collected on the Elm Fork, Trinity River, Isle duBois Creek, and five additional tributaries. Data were also collected during six storms, from atmospheric deposition collectors, and from soil-water microcosms. The relationship between watershed landuse and mean water nutrient concentrations was evaluated. Significant differences will exist between the two major arms of Ray Roberts Lake: Elm Fork, Trinity River and Isle duBois Creek. While the majority of the annual phosphorus and nitrogen load entering both tributaries is coming from overland flow, the proportion is higher in Isle duBois Creek. Point sources in the Elm Fork contribute a larger percentage of the bioavailable phosphorus, which is significantly greater than in Isle duBois Creek. The water quality of Isle duBois Creek, especially nitrogen, is affected to a greater degree by the landuses in its watershed. Predictive regression models made accurate estimations of stream nutrient concentrations in Isle duBois Creek. The entire reservoir, upon reaching equilibrium conditions, will be classified as a eutrophic lake. The Trinity arm, with a higher phosphorus load, will display a higher trophic status. The Isle duBois arm has a lower phosphorus load which will give it a lower trophic status. The long hydraulic residence time of the two arms of the reservoir will remove nutrients upstream of the main body, ...
Date: May 1988
Creator: Pillard, David Alan, 1958-

Effects of Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent on Stream Primary Productivity in the Lower Sulphur River, Texas

Description: Responses of periphyton and phytoplankton productivity in the lower Sulphur River (Texas-Arkansas) to bleach-kraft mill effluent (BKME) were monitored using in situ ¹⁴C incubation. Carbon assimilation rates measured downstream of mill discharge were substantially reduced from upstream levels. Periphyton and phytoplankton chlorophyll a concentrations remained relatively unchanged by the presence of BKME. Periphyton ash-free dry weight increased near the mill outfall, but decreased further downstream. Calculated productivity efficiencies (productivity:biomass) varied with variations in ¹⁴C rates. A laboratory bioassay was designed to determine the effect of BKME light-attenuation on photosynthetic rates of upstream Sulphur River periphyton and Selenastrum capricornutum Prinz. Pooled results of bioassay runs indicated a 20 per cent BKME concentration effectively reduced control ¹⁴C-assimilation levels by 50 per cent. The downstream reduction observed for in situ productivity was 5 per cent lower than that predicted by the color bioassay.
Date: August 1982
Creator: Davis, Terrence Marvin

Population Dynamics of Macrobenthos in a Regulated Stream 1970-71 and 1978

Description: Stability of the macrobenthic community in a regulated section of the Brazos River, Texas, was evaluated. Physicochemical data and information on spatial distribution of macrobenthos were collected. Populations of two invertebrate species, Isonychia sicca and Neoperla clymene, had been greatly reduced since 1970-71 and I. sicca had been practically eliminated from this section of the Brazos. Three other insect populations, Choroterpes mexicanus, Cheumatopsche campyla and Cheumatopsyche lasia, had more than doubled their numbers since the 1970-71 study. A physicochemical gradient existed in this regulated section of the Brazos but it appeared to have changed little in comparison of earlier chemical data. A gradation of the macrobenthic community was evident as distance from the dam increased,
Date: August 1981
Creator: Coulter, James D. (James Duard)

Size Fractionation of Metabolically Active Phytoplankton and Bacteria in Two Diverse Lentic Systems

Description: Simultaneous size fractionation of plankton populations associated with NaH^14CO_3 and ^3H-glucose uptake was employed in eutrophic Lake Texoma (Texas and Oklahoma) and oligotrophic Flathead Lake (Montana). Autoradiography was utilized to determine the role of specific microorganisms in community metabolism. Ultraplankton (0.45-10 μm) dominated plankton numbers and metabolic activity in both aquatic systems. Many of the most abundant species were not the most productive, in terms of inorganic C fixation. Rates of heterotrophic uptake of ^3H-glucose were small in comparison to photolithotrophic uptake in both lakes, Photoheterotrophy was more extensive in Flathead Lake, Autoradiographs indicated that bacteria were responsible for observed photoheterotrophy. Oscillatoria sp. exhibited. mixotrophy in Lake Texoma,
Date: August 1980
Creator: Ellis, Bonnie K.