Undergraduate Honors Thesis Projects

Date of Award

Spring 3-27-2024

Document Type

Honors Paper

Degree Name



Biology & Earth Science


Dr. Michael Hoggarth

First Committee Member

Dr. Michael Hoggarth

Second Committee Member

Dr. Sarah Bouchard

Third Committee Member

Dr. Michele Acker


Biodiversity, Ecosystem Function, Fish, Scioto River, Watershed

Subject Categories

Biodiversity | Biology | Ecology and Evolutionary Biology | Population Biology | Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology


Biodiversity is a critical aspect for ecosystem conservation. High levels of biodiversity increase trophic structure and nutrient flow, which are vital for ecosystem function. Rivers and their tributaries comprise watersheds where small, first-order streams flow into second-order streams and so on as streams get larger and, presumably, their communities more diverse. Historically, this was so but fish communities have declined in Ohio due to anthropomorphic changes to watersheds. The Clean Water Act of 1972 aimed to increase water quality by assessing ecosystem function. In Ohio, the Ohio EPA utilizes fish to assess water quality and has developed a large database on fish abundance and distribution. Biodiversity and environmental stability in the Scioto River Watershed were determined from these data. Species Richness (S) was significantly greater in higher-order streams (p < 0.05), except between fourth and fifth order streams. Likewise, Shannon-Weiner Diversity Index (H’) significantly increased with higher-order streams (p < 0.05), except for third and fifth-order streams (p=1.000), and fourth and fifth-order streams (p = 0.103). The Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored the highest in fourth-order, then third-order, fifth-order, second-order, then first-order streams. The total number of species (S) increased over time in third-order and the combination of fourth and fifth-order streams since the 1990s (p < 0.05), and H’ increased in first, third, and the combination of fourth and fifth order streams (p

Licensing Permission

Copyright, all rights reserved. Fair Use

Acknowledgement 1


Acknowledgement 2


N_Reynolds_Final_Thesis_April_2024.pdf.accreport.html (7 kB)

Authorization_Form_pg1.pdf (558 kB)
Authorization Form Page 1

Authorization_Form_pg2.pdf (700 kB)
Authorization Form Page 2

Reynolds Thesis Front Page.pdf (147 kB)