Biology ETDs

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To collect and examine the organisms associated with newly inundated terrestrial vegetation in Lake Powell, small plastic Christmas trees were "planted" along a sloping sandy bottom at depths of 2, 3, 4.5, 6, 8, and 10 meters. For the 17 months from July, 1973, through October, 1974, the trees were harvested and replanted by scuba divers at 4- and 12-week intervals. The macroinvertebrate and diatom components of the periphytic community associated with each tree were collected and evaluated for number of individuals per unit area (density) and species composition. A diversity index was computed for the diatom portion of each sample. The changes in composition and density patterns of the periphytic organisms were related to depth and time as described for natural aquatic situations and for other newly inundated impoundments subject to fluctuating water levels. Data from Lake Powell indicate the organisms associated with inundated vegetation make up an important part of the available fish food in the littoral zone of the lake. In addition, snails of the genus Physa were found to concentrate around trees submerged for the longer period of time. These snails can function as hosts for schistosome dermatitis producing cercariae, and may therefore present a potential problem in the recreational use of the lake, especially as the shoreline biomass increases.

Project Sponsors

Research for this thesis was supported by grants NSF GI-34831 and NSF-AEN72-03462 A03 to the Shoreline Ecology Subproject of the Lake Powell Research Project at the University of New Mexico, under the Research Applied to National Needs Program of the National Science Foundation.



Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Biology Department

First Committee Member (Chair)

Loren David Potter

Second Committee Member

James Roman Gosz

Third Committee Member

David Eugene Kidd

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