First Advisor

Scott Wells

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Civil & Environmental Engineering


Civil and Environmental Engineering




Algae -- Physiology, Photosynthesis -- Environmental aspects, Water quality




Several studies provide evidence that algal photosynthetic rates depend on various changing factors such as light attenuation, temperature, and nutrient limitation (Chapra, 1997). However, recent papers show that turbulence and photosynthetic rate dynamics is also important (Ross, 2006). In this study, the photosynthetic rate model used is the one proposed by Chapra (1997), where it depends directly on temperature, nutrient and light limitation factors. At the same time, the effect of turbulence or random-walk of algae particles in the water column was also introduced in this model. To account for this factor, the model added was that proposed by Ross (2006), in which the random movement of an algae particle depends on an initial position, a sinking or swimming velocity, an advective term and a random term related to probability. An example test is proposed to evaluate the model and all the parameters and variables are pre-established to show a natural example commonly found in nature. The values of photosynthetic rate were obtained on average and point by point, the photosynthetic rate evolution with time was evaluated. Simulations results are consistent with literature, specifically the photosynthetic rate dynamic behavior, and were compared with the results obtained by Harris (1977), Marra (1978), and Ross (2006). Some aspects of the dynamic effect of light attenuation and turbulence on photosynthetic rate are investigated through the model.



In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).


A research project report submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Persistent Identifier