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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.


Subject
Date Range
2011 2019


Atmospheric deposition of iron (Fe) can limit primary productivity and carbon dioxide uptake in some marine ecosystems. Recent modeling studies suggest that biomass burning aerosols may contribute a significant amount of soluble Fe to the surface ocean. Existing studies of burn-induced trace element mobilization have often collected both entrained soil particles along with material from biomass burning, making it difficult to determine the actual source of aerosolized trace metals. In order to better constrain the importance of biomass versus entrained soil as a source of trace metals in burn aerosols, small-scale burn experiments were conducted using soil-free foliage representative of …

Contributors
Sherry, Alyssa Meredith, Anbar, Ariel D, Herckes, Pierre, et al.
Created Date
2019

Biodiversity is required to guarantee proper ecosystem structure and function. However, increasing anthropogenic threats are causing biodiversity loss around the world at an unprecedented rate, in what has been deemed the sixth mass extinction. To counteract this crisis, conservationists seek to improve the methods used in the design and implementation of protected areas, which help mitigate the impacts of human activities on species. Marine mammals are ecosystem engineers and important indicator species of ocean and human wellbeing. They are also disproportionally less known and more threatened than terrestrial mammals. Therefore, surrogates of biodiversity must be used to maximize their representation …

Contributors
Astudillo-Scalia, Yaiyr, Albuquerque, Fábio, Deviche, Pierre, et al.
Created Date
2019

Human endeavors move 7x more volume of earth than the world’s rivers accelerating the removal of Earth’s soil surface. Measuring anthropogenic acceleration of soil erosion requires knowledge of natural rates through the study of 10Be, but same-watershed comparisons between anthropogenically-accelerated and natural erosion rates do not exist for urbanizing watersheds. Here I show that urban sprawl from 1989 to 2013 accelerated soil erosion between 1.3x and 15x above natural rates for different urbanizing watersheds in the metropolitan Phoenix region, Sonoran Desert, USA, and that statistical modeling a century of urban sprawl indicates an acceleration of only 2.7x for the Phoenix …

Contributors
Jeong, Ara, Dorn, Ronald I., Schmeeckle, Mark, et al.
Created Date
2019

Understanding and predicting climate changes at the urban scale have been an important yet challenging problem in environmental engineering. The lack of reliable long-term observations at the urban scale makes it difficult to even assess past climate changes. Numerical modeling plays an important role in filling the gap of observation and predicting future changes. Numerical studies on the climatic effect of desert urbanization have focused on basic meteorological fields such as temperature and wind. For desert cities, urban expansion can lead to substantial changes in the local production of wind-blown dust, which have implications for air quality and public health. …

Contributors
Tahir, Sherzad Tahseen, Huang, Huei-Ping, Phelan, Patrick, et al.
Created Date
2019

Monsoon hazards routinely affect the community, economy, and environment of the American Southwest. A common link for hazard development during the North American Monsoon concerns the interplay between temperature, moisture, and wind in the vertical atmosphere controlled by an unstable monsoon circulation. This dissertation investigates vertical atmospheric patterns using in-situ sounding data, specifically, 1) environments favorable for severe hail on the Colorado Plateau, 2) significant parameters distinguishing unhealthy versus healthy ozone days in Phoenix, Arizona, and 3) vertical profile alignments associated with distinct ranges in ozone concentrations observed in Phoenix having defined health impacts. The first study (published in the …

Contributors
Malloy, Jonny William, Cerveny, Randall S, Selover, Nancy J, et al.
Created Date
2019

This dissertation critically evaluated methodologies and devices for assessing and protecting the health of human populations, with particular emphasis on groundwater remediation and the use of wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) to inform population health. A meta-analysis and assessment of laboratory-scale treatability studies for removing chlorinated solvents from groundwater found that sediment microcosms operated as continuous-flow columns are preferable to batch bottles when seeking to emulate with high fidelity the complex conditions prevailing in the subsurface in contaminated aquifers (Chapter 2). Compared to monitoring at the field-scale, use of column microcosms also showed (i) improved chemical speciation, and (ii) qualitative predictability of …

Contributors
Driver, Erin, Halden, Rolf, Conroy-Ben, Otakuye, et al.
Created Date
2018

The occurrence of micro-and nanoplastic (MNP) debris in the environment is a research area of considerable public health concern. Various combinations of methods for extraction, isolation, and quantification of MNP have been applied but literature studies evaluating the appropriateness and efficacy of these protocols are lacking. A meta-analysis of the literature (n=134; years 2010-2017) was conducted to inventory and assess the appropriateness of methodologies employed. Some 30.6% of studies employed visual identification only, which carried a calculated misidentification error of 25.8-74.2%. An additional 6.7% of studies reported counts for particles smaller than the cutoff value of the selected collection pore …

Contributors
Cook, Cayla R, Halden, Rolf U., Hamilton, Kerry, et al.
Created Date
2018

Fossil fuel CO2 (FFCO2) emissions are recognized as the dominant greenhouse gas driving climate change (Enting et. al., 1995; Conway et al., 1994; Francey et al., 1995; Bousquet et. al., 1999). Transportation is a major component of FFCO2 emissions, especially in urban areas. An improved understanding of on-road FFCO2 emission at high spatial resolution is essential to both carbon science and mitigation policy. Though considerable research has been accomplished within a few high-income portions of the planet such as the United States and Western Europe, little work has attempted to comprehensively quantify high-resolution on-road FFCO2 emissions globally. Key questions for …

Contributors
Song, Yang, Gurney, Kevin, Kuby, Michael, et al.
Created Date
2018

Dissolved organic matter (DOM) is an important part of aquatic foodwebs because it contains carbon, nitrogen, and other elements required by heterotrophic organisms. It has many sources that determine its molecular composition, nutrient content, and biological lability and in turn, influence whether it is retained and processed in the stream reach or exported downstream. I examined the composition of DOM from vascular wetland plants, filamentous algae, and riparian tree leaf litter in Sonoran Desert streams and its decomposition by stream microbes. I used a combination of field observations, in-situ experiments, and a manipulative laboratory incubation to test (1) how dominant …

Contributors
Kemmitt, Kathrine, Grimm, Nancy, Hartnett, Hilairy, et al.
Created Date
2018

Safe, readily available, and reliable sources of water are an essential component of any municipality’s infrastructure. Phoenix, Arizona, a southwestern city, has among the highest per capita water use in the United States, making it essential to carefully manage its reservoirs. Generally, municipal water bodies are monitored through field sampling. However, this approach is limited spatially and temporally in addition to being costly. In this study, the application of remotely sensed reflectance data from Landsat 7’s Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) and Landsat 8’s Operational Land Imager (OLI) along with data generated through field-sampling is used to gain a better …

Contributors
Russell, Jazmine B, Neuer, Susanne, Fox, Peter, et al.
Created Date
2018

Peatlands represent 3% of the earth’s surface but have been estimated to contain up to 30% of all terrestrial soil organic carbon and release an estimated 40% of global atmospheric CH4 emissions. Contributors to the production of CH4 are methanogenic Archaea through a coupled metabolic dependency of end products released by heterotrophic bacteria within the soil in the absence of O2. To better understand how neighboring bacterial communities can influence methanogenesis, the isolation and physiological characterization of two novel isolates, one Methanoarchaeal isolate and one Acidobacterium isolate identified as QU12MR and R28S, respectively, were targeted in this present study. Co-culture …

Contributors
Ramirez, Zeni, Cadillo-Quiroz, Hinsby, Roberson, Robert, et al.
Created Date
2018

Monitoring human exposure to chemicals posing public health threats is critically important for risk management and for informing regulatory actions. Chemical threats result from both environmental pollutants and elected substance use (e.g., consumption of drugs, alcohol and tobacco). Measuring chemical occurrence and concentrations in environmental matrices can help to pinpoint human exposure routes. For instance, indoor dust, a sink of indoor environmental contaminants, can serve to assess indoor air contamination and associated human exposures. Urban wastewater arriving at treatment plants contains urine and stool from the general population, the analysis of which can provide information on chemical threats in the …

Contributors
Chen, Jing, Halden, Rolf U, Borges, Chad R, et al.
Created Date
2018

Organic reactions in natural hydrothermal settings have relevance toward the deep carbon cycle, petroleum formation, the ecology of deep microbial communities, and potentially the origin of life. Many reaction pathways involving organic compounds under geochemically relevant hydrothermal conditions have now been characterized, but their mechanisms, in particular those involving mineral surface catalysis, are largely unknown. The overall goal of this work is to describe these mechanisms so that predictive models of reactivity can be developed and so that applications of these reactions beyond geochemistry can be explored. The focus of this dissertation is the mechanisms of hydrothermal dehydration and catalytic …

Contributors
Bockisch, Christiana, Gould, Ian R, Hartnett, Hilairy E, et al.
Created Date
2018

Whale watching has been hailed by environmental non-governmental organizations like Greenpeace and the International Fund for Animal Welfare as a responsible form of tourism that has the potential to enhance conservation outcomes for cetaceans, while also supporting the economic development of coastal communities. Tourism research suggests that while it is possible for whale watching to provide these benefits, it may also have considerable costs to members of host communities and cetaceans. My dissertation sought to gather data on the economic, ecological, and social impacts of whale watching in the Caribbean in order to evaluate the industry's performance in the region. …

Contributors
Raschke, Bonnie Jean, Kinzig, Ann, Andereck, Kathleen, et al.
Created Date
2017

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

The combination of rapid urban growth and climate change places stringent constraints on multisector sustainability of cities. Green infrastructure provides a great potential for mitigating anthropogenic-induced urban environmental problems; nevertheless, studies at city and regional scales are inhibited by the deficiency in modelling the complex transport coupled water and energy inside urban canopies. This dissertation is devoted to incorporating hydrological processes and urban green infrastructure into an integrated atmosphere-urban modelling system, with the goal to improve the reliability and predictability of existing numerical tools. Based on the enhanced numerical tool, the effects of urban green infrastructure on environmental sustainability of …

Contributors
Yang, Jiachuan, Wang, Zhihua, Kaloush, Kamil, et al.
Created Date
2016

The worldwide supply of potable fresh water is ever decreasing. While 2.5% of Earth's water is fresh, only 1% is accessible. Of this water, the World Health Organization estimates that only one-third can be used to meet our daily needs while the other two-thirds are unusable due to contamination. As the world population continues to grow and climate change reduces water security, we must consider not only solutions, but evaluate the perceptions and reactions of individuals in order to successfully implement such solutions. To that end, the goal of this dissertation is to explore human attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors around …

Contributors
Stotts, Rhian Alissa, Wutich, Amber, BurnSilver, Shauna, et al.
Created Date
2016

N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a probable human carcinogen, has been found in clouds and fogs at concentration up to 500 ng/L and in drinking water as disinfection by-product. NDMA exposure to the general public is not well understood because of knowledge gaps in terms of occurrence, formation and fate both in air and water. The goal of this dissertation was to contribute to closing these knowledge gaps on potential human NDMA exposure through contributions to atmospheric measurements and fate as well as aqueous formation processes. Novel, sensitive methods of measuring NDMA in air were developed based on Solid Phase Extraction (SPE) and …

Contributors
Zhang, Jinwei, Herckes, Pierre, Westerhoff, Paul, et al.
Created Date
2016

Marine pico-cyanobacteria of the genera Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus carry out nearly two thirds of the primary production in oligotrophic oceans. These cyanobacteria are also considered an important constituent of the biological carbon pump, the photosynthetic fixation of CO2 to dissolved and particulate organic carbon and subsequent export to the ocean’s interior. But single cells of these cyanobacteria are too small to sink, so their carbon export has to be mediated by aggregate formation and/or consumption by zooplankton that produce sinking fecal pellets. In this dissertation, I investigated for the first time the aggregation of these cyanobacteria by studying the marine …

Contributors
Deng, Wei, Neuer, Susanne, Anbar, Ariel, et al.
Created Date
2016

Energy consumption in buildings, accounting for 41% of 2010 primary energy consumption in the United States (US), is particularly vulnerable to climate change due to the direct relationship between space heating/cooling and temperature. Past studies have assessed the impact of climate change on long-term mean and/or peak energy demands. However, these studies usually neglected spatial variations in the “balance point” temperature, population distribution effects, air-conditioner (AC) saturation, and the extremes at smaller spatiotemporal scales, making the implications of local-scale vulnerability incomplete. Here I develop empirical relationships between building energy consumption and temperature to explore the impact of climate change on …

Contributors
Huang, Jianhua, Gurney, Kevin Robert, Miller, Clark Anson, et al.
Created Date
2016