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ASU Electronic Theses and Dissertations


This collection includes most of the ASU Theses and Dissertations from 2011 to present. ASU Theses and Dissertations are available in downloadable PDF format; however, a small percentage of items are under embargo. Information about the dissertations/theses includes degree information, committee members, an abstract, supporting data or media.

In addition to the electronic theses found in the ASU Digital Repository, ASU Theses and Dissertations can be found in the ASU Library Catalog.

Dissertations and Theses granted by Arizona State University are archived and made available through a joint effort of the ASU Graduate College and the ASU Libraries. For more information or questions about this collection contact or visit the Digital Repository ETD Library Guide or contact the ASU Graduate College at gradformat@asu.edu.


Date Range
2010 2019


Hydrology and biogeochemistry are coupled in all systems. However, human decision-making regarding hydrology and biogeochemistry are often separate, even though decisions about hydrologic systems may have substantial impacts on biogeochemical patterns and processes. The overarching question of this dissertation was: How does hydrologic engineering interact with the effects of nutrient loading and climate to drive watershed nutrient yields? I conducted research in two study systems with contrasting spatial and temporal scales. Using a combination of data-mining and modeling approaches, I reconstructed nitrogen and phosphorus budgets for the northeastern US over the 20th century, including anthropogenic nutrient inputs and riverine fluxes, …

Contributors
Hale, Rebecca, Grimm, Nancy B, Childers, Daniel, et al.
Created Date
2013

The global transport and deposition of anthropogenic nitrogen (N) to downwind ecosystems are significant and continue to increase. Indeed, atmospheric deposition can be a significant source of N to many watersheds, including those in remote, unpopulated areas. Bacterial denitrification in lake sediments may ameliorate the effects of N loading by converting nitrate (NO3-) to N2 gas. Denitrification also produces nitrous oxide (N2O), a potent greenhouse gas. The ecological effects of atmospheric N inputs in terrestrial ecosystems and the pelagic zone of lakes have been well documented; however, similar research in lake sediments is lacking. This project investigates the effects N …

Contributors
Mccrackin, Michelle Lynn, Elser, James J, Grimm, Nancy B, et al.
Created Date
2010

Though cities occupy only a small percentage of Earth's terrestrial surface, humans concentrated in urban areas impact ecosystems at local, regional and global scales. I examined the direct and indirect ecological outcomes of human activities on both managed landscapes and protected native ecosystems in and around cities. First, I used highly managed residential yards, which compose nearly half of the heterogeneous urban land area, as a model system to examine the ecological effects of people's management choices and the social drivers of those decisions. I found that a complex set of individual and institutional social characteristics drives people's decisions, which …

Contributors
Cook, Elizabeth, Hall, Sharon J, Boone, Christopher G, et al.
Created Date
2014

An understanding of the formation of spatial heterogeneity is important because spatial heterogeneity leads to functional consequences at the ecosystem scale; however, such an understanding is still limited. Particularly, research simultaneously considering both external variables and internal feedbacks (self-organization) is rare, partly because these two drivers are addressed under different methodological frameworks. In this dissertation, I show the prevalence of internal feedbacks and their interaction with heterogeneity in the preexisting template to form spatial pattern. I use a variety of techniques to account for both the top-down template effect and bottom-up self-organization. Spatial patterns of nutrients in stream surface water …

Contributors
Dong, Xiaoli, Grimm, Nancy B, Muneepeerakul, Rachata, et al.
Created Date
2015

Humans have dramatically increased phosphorus (P) availability in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. As P is often a limiting nutrient of primary production, changes in its availability can have dramatic effects on ecosystem processes. I examined the effects of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) deposition, which can lower P concentrations via coprecipitation of phosphate, on P availability in two systems: streams in the Huachuca Mountains, Arizona, and a stream, Río Mesquites, in Cuatro Ciénegas, México. Calcium carbonate forms as travertine in the former and within the microbialites of the latter. Despite these differences, CaCO3 deposition led to lowered P availability in both systems. …

Contributors
Corman, Jessica Regina, Elser, James J, Anbar, Ariel D, et al.
Created Date
2015

Constructed treatment wetlands (CTW) have been a cost-efficient technological solution to treat different types of wastewater but may also be sources of emitters of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). Thus, my objective for this dissertation was to investigate CH4 and N2O fluxes via multiple pathways from the Tres Rios CTW located in Phoenix, AZ, USA. I measured gas fluxes from the CTW along a whole-system gradient (from inflow to outflow) and a within-marsh gradient (shoreline, middle, and open water sites). I found higher diffusive CH4 release in the summer compared to spring and winter seasons. Along the whole-system gradient, …

Contributors
Ramos, Jorge, Childers, Daniel L, Grimm, Nancy B, et al.
Created Date
2017

General ecological thought pertaining to plant biology, conservation, and urban areas has rested on two potentially contradictory underlying assumptions. The first is that non-native plants can spread easily from human developments to “pristine” areas. The second is that native plants cannot disperse through developed areas. Both assume anthropogenic changes to ecosystems create conditions that favor non-native plants and hinder native species. However, it is just as likely that anthropogenic alterations of habitats will favor certain groups of plant species with similar functional traits, whether native or not. Migration of plants can be divided into the following stages: dispersal, germination, establishment, …

Contributors
Gade, Kristin Joan, Kinzig, Ann P, Grimm, Nancy B, et al.
Created Date
2010

Three dilemmas plague governance of scientific research and technological innovation: the dilemma of orientation, the dilemma of legitimacy, and the dilemma of control. The dilemma of orientation risks innovation heedless of long-term implications. The dilemma of legitimacy grapples with delegation of authority in democracies, often at the expense of broader public interest. The dilemma of control poses that the undesirable implications of new technologies are hard to grasp, yet once grasped, all too difficult to remedy. That humanity has innovated itself into the sustainability crisis is a prime manifestation of these dilemmas. Responsible innovation (RI), with foci on anticipation, inclusion, …

Contributors
Bernstein, Michael Jordan, Wiek, Arnim, Wetmore, Jameson M, et al.
Created Date
2016

River and riparian areas are important foraging habitat for insectivorous bats. Numerous studies have shown that aquatic insects provide an important trophic resource to terrestrial consumers, including bats, and are key in regulating population size and species interactions in terrestrial food webs. Yet these studies have generally ignored how structural characteristics of the riverine landscape influence trophic resource availability or how terrestrial consumers respond to ensuing spatial and temporal patterns of trophic resources. Moreover, few studies have examined linkages between a stream's hydrologic regime and the timing and magnitude of aquatic insect availability. The main objective of my dissertation is …

Contributors
Hagen, Elizabeth M, Sabo, John L, Fisher, Stuart G, et al.
Created Date
2010

Non-native consumers can significantly alter processes at the population, community, and ecosystem level, and they are a major concern in many aquatic systems. Although the community-level effects of non-native anuran tadpoles are well understood, their ecosystem-level effects have been less studied. Here, I tested the hypothesis that natural densities of non-native bullfrog tadpoles (Lithobates catesbeianus) and native Woodhouse's toad tadpoles (Anaxyrus woodhousii) have dissimilar effects on aquatic ecosystem processes because of differences in grazing and nutrient recycling (excretion and egestion). I measured bullfrog and Woodhouse's carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus nutrient recycling rates. Then, I determined the impact of tadpole grazing …

Contributors
Greene, Robin Suzanne, Sabo, John L, Grimm, Nancy B, et al.
Created Date
2015