Date of Award

Spring 5-2020

Document Type

Thesis

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Program

Biology

Degree Name

Master of Science

Thesis Advisor

Dr. William Rogers

Committee Member

Dr. Janice Chism

Committee Member

Dr. Cynthia Tant

Abstract

Biodiversity is in a crisis worldwide, driven by the negative effects from urbanization. Ecosystems are being destroyed in favor of urban areas and natural resources are diminishing. Stormwater management has gained an elevated importance and its associated infrastructure could help counter the loss of biodiversity. Freshwater within urban areas is critical for organisms. Anthropogenic ponds can act as refuge habitats within a blue network and have become a hotspot for ecological research. Using principles of reconciliation ecology, the effects on biodiversity were assessed following the conversion of a stormwater basin on an urban high school in Charlotte, NC. A before-and-after design determined the change in dragonfly abundance and bird species richness following the conversion of a detention basin into a retention pond. A unique component was the inclusion of 65 high school students as research assistants during fieldwork. Results showed a significant increase by both bioindicators near the pond after the conversion, with dragonfly counts increasing by over 350%. No overall increase was observed between samples, likely due to a short disturbance recovery time post-conversion. The attraction of both bioindicators to the pond lends support for it as a refuge habitat. Overall, the results showed that retrofitting a stormwater basin shifted the biodiversity towards the pond and should increase it over time. Transferable on a global scale, stormwater BMP modification, citizen science and student involvement can further the conservation of biodiversity within urban areas.

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