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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


Some cyanobacteria, referred to as boring or euendolithic, are capable of excavating tunnels into calcareous substrates, both mineral and biogenic. The erosive activity of these cyanobacteria results in the destruction of coastal limestones and dead corals, the reworking of carbonate sands, and the cementation of microbialites. They thus link the biological and mineral parts of the global carbon cycle directly. They are also relevant for marine aquaculture as pests of mollusk populations. In spite of their importance, the mechanism by which these cyanobacteria bore remains unknown. In fact, boring by phototrophs is geochemically paradoxical, in that they should promote precipitation …

Contributors
Ramírez-Reinat, Edgardo Luis, Garcia-Pichel, Ferran, Chandler, Douglas, et al.
Created Date
2010

Phytoplankton comprise the base of the marine food web, and, along with heterotrophic protists, they are key players in the biological pump that transports carbon from the surface to the deep ocean. In the world's subtropical oligotrophic gyres, plankton communities exhibit strong seasonality. Winter storms vent deep water into the euphotic zone, triggering a surge in primary productivity in the form of a spring phytoplankton bloom. Although the hydrographic trends of this "boom and bust" cycle have been well studied for decades, community composition and its seasonal and annual variability remains an integral subject of research. It is hypothesized here …

Contributors
Hansen, Amy, Neuer, Susanne, Krajmalnik-Brown, Rosa, et al.
Created Date
2010

The oceans play an essential role in global biogeochemical cycles and in regulating climate. The biological carbon pump, the photosynthetic fixation of carbon dioxide by phytoplankton and subsequent sequestration of organic carbon into deep water, combined with the physical carbon pump, make the oceans the only long-term net sink for anthropogenic carbon dioxide. A full understanding of the workings of the biological carbon pump requires a knowledge of the role of different taxonomic groups of phytoplankton (protists and cyanobacteria) to organic carbon export. However, this has been difficult due to the degraded nature of particles sinking into particle traps, the …

Contributors
Amacher, Jessica Anne, Neuer, Susanne, Garcia-Pichel, Ferran, et al.
Created Date
2011

In 2010, a monthly sampling regimen was established to examine ecological differences in Saguaro Lake and Lake Pleasant, two Central Arizona reservoirs. Lake Pleasant is relatively deep and clear, while Saguaro Lake is relatively shallow and turbid. Preliminary results indicated that phytoplankton biomass was greater by an order of magnitude in Saguaro Lake, and that community structure differed. The purpose of this investigation was to determine why the reservoirs are different, and focused on physical characteristics of the water column, nutrient concentration, community structure of phytoplankton and zooplankton, and trophic cascades induced by fish populations. I formulated the following hypotheses: …

Contributors
Sawyer, Tyler, Neuer, Susanne, Childers, Daniel L, et al.
Created Date
2011

Many studies over the past two decades examined the link between climate patterns and discharge, but few have attempted to study the effects of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) on localized and watershed specific processes such as nutrient loading in the Southwestern United States. The Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) is used to describe the state of the ENSO, with positive (negative) values referring to an El Niño condition (La Niña condition). This study examined the connection between the MEI and precipitation, discharge, and total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP) concentrations in the Upper Salt River Watershed in Arizona. …

Contributors
Sversvold, Darren, Neuer, Susanne, Elser, James, et al.
Created Date
2012

This thesis research focuses on phylogenetic and functional studies of microbial communities in deep-sea water, an untapped reservoir of high metabolic and genetic diversity of microorganisms. The presence of photosynthetic cyanobacteria and diatoms is an interesting and unexpected discovery during a 16S ribosomal rRNA-based community structure analyses for microbial communities in the deep-sea water of the Pacific Ocean. Both RT-PCR and qRT-PCR approaches were employed to detect expression of the genes involved in photosynthesis of photoautotrophic organisms. Positive results were obtained and further proved the functional activity of these detected photosynthetic microbes in the deep-sea. Metagenomic and metatranscriptomic data was …

Contributors
Wu, Jieying, Meldrum, Deirdre R., Zhang, Weiwen, et al.
Created Date
2013

Sea ice algae dominated by diatoms inhabit the brine channels of the Arctic sea ice and serve as the base of the Arctic marine food web in the spring. I studied sea ice diatoms in the bottom 10 cm of first year land-fast sea ice off the coast of Barrow, AK, in spring of 2011, 2012, and 2013. I investigated the variability in the biomass and the community composition of these sea-ice diatoms between bloom phases, as a function of overlying snow depth and over time. The dominant genera were the pennate diatoms Nitzschia, Navicula, Thalassiothrix, and Fragilariopsis with only …

Contributors
Kinzler, Kyle Philip, Neuer, Susanne, Juhl, Andrew, et al.
Created Date
2014

Phosphorus (P), an essential nutrient for growth of all organisms, is often in limited biological supply for herbivore consumers compared to other elements, such as carbon (C). Ecological stoichiometry studies have assessed responses of filter-feeding zooplankton from the genus Daphnia to single and multi-species food resources that are P-limited, finding decreased growth as a result to changes in metabolic processes and feeding behavior. Conversely, recent laboratory studies have shown that P-rich algal food resources also result in decreased growth rates for Daphnia, though the possible mechanisms behind this maladaptive response is understudied. Moreover, no published study tests the existence of …

Contributors
Currier, Courtney McCann, Currier, James, Harrison, Jon, et al.
Created Date
2015

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

The ocean sequesters more than 25% of the carbon released by anthropogenic action every year, and oligotrophic oceans, such as the Sargasso Sea, are responsible for about 50% of the global carbon export. Pico- and nano-phytoplankton (cells < 5 µm), mostly unicellular eukaryotes (protists) and cyanobacteria, dominate the primary production in the Sargasso Sea; however, little is known about their contribution to the export of carbon into the deep ocean via sinking particles. The overall goal of this study is to examine the link between growth and grazing rates of pico- and nano-phytoplankton and the carbon export in the Sargasso …

Contributors
De Martini, Francesca, Neuer, Susanne, Garcia-Pichel, Ferran, et al.
Created Date
2016

Why do many animals possess multiple classes of photoreceptors that vary in the wavelengths of light to which they are sensitive? Multiple spectral photoreceptor classes are a requirement for true color vision. However, animals may have unconventional vision, in which multiple spectral channels broaden the range of wavelengths that can be detected, or in which they use only a subset of receptors for specific behaviors. Branchiopod crustaceans are of interest for the study of unconventional color vision because they express multiple visual pigments in their compound eyes, have a simple repertoire of visually guided behavior, inhabit unique and highly variable …

Contributors
Lessios, Nicolas, Rutowski, Ronald L, Cohen, Jonathan H, et al.
Created Date
2016

Microzooplankton, mainly heterotrophic unicellular eukaryotes (protists), play an important role in the cycling of nutrients and carbon in the sunlit (euphotic) zone of the world’s oceans. Few studies have investigated the microzooplankton communities in oligotrophic (low-nutrient) oceans, such as the Sargasso Sea. In this study, I investigate the seasonal and interannual dynamics of the heterotrophic protists, particularly the nanoflagellate, dinoflagellate, and ciliate communities, at the Bermuda Atlantic Time Series site and surrounding areas in the Sargasso Sea. In addition, I test the hypotheses that the community is controlled though bottom-up and top-down processes. To evaluate the bottom-up hypothesis, that the …

Contributors
Wolverton, Megan, Neuer, Susanne, Hartnett, Hillary, et al.
Created Date
2016

Many environmental microorganisms such as marine microbes are un-culturable; hence, they should be analyzed in situ. Even though a few in situ ocean observing instruments have been available to oceanographers, their applications are limited, because these instruments are expensive and power hungry. In this dissertation project, an inexpensive, portable, low-energy consuming, and highly quantitative microbiological genomic sensor has been developed for in situ ocean-observing systems. A novel real-time colorimetric loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) technology has been developed for quantitative detection of microbial nucleic acids. This technology was implemented on a chip-level device with an embedded inexpensive imaging device and temperature …

Contributors
Ci, Shufang, Meldrum, Deirdre R, Chao, Shih-hui, et al.
Created Date
2017

Quagga mussels are an aquatic invasive species capable of causing economic and ecological damage. Despite the quagga mussels’ ability to rapidly spread, two watersheds, the Salt River system and the Verde River system of Arizona, both had no quagga mussel detections for 8 years. The main factor thought to deter quagga mussels was the stratification of the two watersheds during the summer, resulting in high temperatures in the epilimnion and low dissolved oxygen in the hypolimnion. In 2015, Canyon Lake, a reservoir of the Salt River watershed, tested positive for quagga mussel veligers. In this study, I used Landsat 7 …

Contributors
Lau, Theresa, Fox, Peter, Neuer, Susanne, 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

Microscopic algae have been investigated extensively by researchers for decades for their ability to bioremediate wastewater and flue gas while producing valuable biomass for use as feed, fuel, fertilizer, nutraceutical, and other specialty products. Reports of the exciting commercial potential of this diverse group of organisms started appearing in the literature as early as the 1940’s. However, nearly 80 years later, relatively few successful commercial microalgae installations exist and algae have not yet reached agricultural commodity status. This dissertation examines three major bottlenecks to commercial microalgae production including lack of an efficient and economical cultivation strategy, poor management of volatile …

Contributors
Wray, Joshua, Dempster, Thomas, Roberson, Robert, et al.
Created Date
2019