Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

M. S.

Organizational Unit

College of Natual Science and Mathematics, Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Anna Sher

Second Advisor

Shannon Murphy

Third Advisor

Scott Nichols


Diversity, Ecology, Elevation, Freshwater, Macroinvertebrate


Land use activities have caused disturbances that affect the quality of freshwater ecosystems worldwide. How the influences of land use along an environmental gradient and the associated environmental variables that may influence stream diversity and function is unclear. We address these issues by studying biodiversity, abundance, and functional diversity of macroinvertebrates across different land types along a gradient in Colorado, USA. We also address how diversity may change along an elevation gradient by analyzing previously published macroinvertebrate research. We found evidence that land use and disturbance are stronger explanations of changes in macroinvertebrate communities, rather than elevation. Functional trait patterns of macroinvertebrates also differ from biodiversity and community composition measurements. Our research highlights the importance of land use, the influence on environmental variables, and the use of functional traits for characterizing communities.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Brittany Sprout


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

74 p.


Ecology, Conservation biology