Date of Graduation

Spring 2008


Master of Science in Biology



Committee Chair

John Havel


potamoplankton, microcrustaceans, Cladocera, Copepoda, artificial flow apparatus, Missouri River, zooplankton community structure

Subject Categories



The zooplankton community structure within a river is governed by a variety of physical, chemical, and environmental features. The current study assessed the role of flow in characterizing the microcrustacean zooplankton community of the Missouri River. I also designed an artificial flow chamber for observing species-specific responses to flow. Missouri River zooplankton samples and physico-chemical variables were collected from 78 sites by USGS field crews during July–September 2005. I analyzed these samples to test for differences in features of the microcrustacean zooplankton community between hydrologically-distinct flow variability units and zones of human alteration. I also assessed the relative contribution of flow characteristics to explaining the overall pattern of zooplankton community structure of the river. The results of this study indicate there are detectable differences in microcrustacean community features at different scales of flow characterization (large zones and smaller units). Community structure was discriminated between flow units, but not alteration zones, of the river. Distance from the nearest upstream reservoir explained more of the overall community pattern of the river than any other combination of environmental factors, reflecting an indirect influence of flow and alteration of the river on the cladoceran and copepod community of the Missouri River. Preliminary measurements indicate the flow chamber is operational at low flow speeds (2.6 to 11.1 cm/s) and has the potential for measuring individual responses to flow environments.


© Kelli Denise McCloud Dickerson

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