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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Landis, Wayne G.

Second Advisor

Bunn, Andrew Godard

Third Advisor

Bodensteiner, Leo R., 1957-


Anthropogenic climate change is causing the earth to warm, and the consequences of warming will be on a continuum for species from extinction to thriving and expanding to larger ranges. There will be winners with climate change and there will be losers, and identifying species that management would benefit early makes management more effective. Environmental factors and contaminants complicate species responses to climate change. Sites with legacy contaminants, like mercury, that stay in the environment for extended periods will need to be managed for the mixed effects of climate change, environmental stressors and contaminants. In this study I use an ensemble of 10 GCMs downscaled to a 0.125-degree scale to assess the likely climate for 2071-2100. I integrate these projections into a Bayesian network relative risk model for the mercury contaminated South River in Virginia, USA. All climate change models predict increased temperatures across the South River. From my ensemble of downscaled climate projections for the South River, I predict that the Carolina wren, smallmouth bass and white sucker will all have reduced risk with warmer temperatures. This risk assessment provides early information on likely future conditions for long-term management of the South River. It also indicates future research that would increase understanding of the dynamics of contaminant uptake and temperature.





Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Ecosystem management--Virginia--South River (Augusta County and Rockingham County); Ecosystem management--Shenandoah River (Va. and W. Va.); Environmental risk assessment--Virginia--South River (Augusta County and Rockingham County); Environmental risk assessment--Shenandoah River (Va. and W. Va.); Climatic changes--Virginia--South River (Augusta County and Rockingham County); Climatic changes--Shenandoah River (Va. and W. Va.); Mercury--Bioaccumulation--Virginia--South River (Augusta County and Rockingham County); Mercury--Bioaccumulation--Shenandoah River (Va. and W. Va.); Bayesian statistical decision theory

Geographic Coverage

South River (Augusta County and Rockingham County, Va.); Shenandoah River (Va. and W. Va.)




masters theses




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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.