Biology ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-12-2018


This dissertation investigated the initial and multi-year effects of a catastrophic wildfire (Las Conchas fire in 2011) on adjacent and downstream aquatic ecosystems in comparison to pre-fire conditions. Specifically, the research looked at 1) multi-year water quality responses along the river continuum using data collected before, immediately after and for multiple years post-fire, 2) differential water quality and whole-stream metabolism responses of paired headwater catchments over multiple years after disturbance, and 3) fish communities at two sites on a larger river downstream of the extensive region impacted by the catastrophic wildfire.Overall, the research in this dissertation highlights the importance of long-term ecological data collection using advanced instrumentation that can be used to evaluate the effects of a changing climate and climate-mediated disturbances on water resources. Secondly, these studies emphasize the need to collect water quality and biological data at temporal and spatial scales that more effectively capture the hydrology and water quality dynamics of landscape-scale disturbances that are becoming more common and more destructive with climate change and growing human impingement on forested lands. Thirdly, this research highlights the importance of evaluating streamflow pathways, geomorphology, physiochemical properties with biogeochemical processes, and watershed-specific hydrologic connections within their landscapes prior to and following landscape-scale disturbance.




Rio Grande, Jemez Mountains, Las Conchas, river continuum, disturbance, high-frequency monitoring

Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Biology Department

First Committee Member (Chair)

Clifford Dahm

Second Committee Member

David Van Horn

Third Committee Member

Thomas Turner

Fourth Committee Member

Ricardo González-Pinźon