Date of Award

12-2011

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Chemistry

First Advisor

Dr. John B. Miller

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

Runoff from urban and agricultural sources increases nutrient levels in surface waters, a process known as eutrophication. This can result in harmful algal blooms and other adverse effects. Benthic (attached) algal communities grown using an Algal Turf Scrubber™ (ATS) system have been shown to take up nitrogen and phosphorus, the primary nutrients of concern. BecauseATS systems do not require the addition of chemicals to remove nutrients, they may be less costly than conventional methods of nutrient remediation, and the resulting biomass can be used as a feedstock for biofuel production. An ATS system was constructed near the eutrophic Goldsworth Valley Pond on the Western Michigan University campus to cultivate communities of native benthic algae and evaluate their utility for nutrient uptake and biomass generation. The effects of thermal energy and photosynthetically active radiation on biomass accumulation are examined and interpreted using a modified literature model. Phosphorus remediation is evaluated by determining the phosphorus content of the biomass. The main hypotheses on which ATS technology is based are statistically tested.

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