Date of Award

8-2014

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Coastal Sciences, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory

Committee Chair

Kevin Dillon

Committee Chair Department

Coastal Sciences, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory

Committee Member 2

Wei Wu

Committee Member 2 Department

Coastal Sciences, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory

Committee Member 3

Scott Milroy

Committee Member 3 Department

Marine Science

Abstract

Urbanization in coastal watersheds is becoming an increasingly important issue in the world. Increased impervious surface cover, a factor of urbanization, has drawn more attention to stormwater runoff as a source of contamination to receiving waters. In this study, nitrogen species from rain and stormwater were analyzed across three different landscape types along the Mississippi Sound (hardened, residential, and pristine), as well as from drainage pipes that flow directly into to the Mississippi Sound. Nitrogen stable isotopes were used to trace the stormwater nitrogen to the surface waters and biota within the Sound.

The objective of this study was to determine the contribution of rainwater and stormwater to the nitrogen pool of Mississippi coastal waters, and to the biota present within those waters. All landscape types were found to have variable nitrogen sources in addition to rainwater nitrogen. Stormwater 15NH4 values were always enriched relative to rainwater 15NH4 values. Stormwater in pristine sites consistently had the lowest concentrations of ammonium, nitrate, and phosphate. Surface water nutrient concentrations were generally higher in the more developed areas compared to waters near the pristine landscape.

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