iUTAH Team - Graduate Research Assistant

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Elizabeth Ogata


Utah State University


Research Topic

Stream Nutrient Dynamics along a Mountain to Urban Gradient


iUTAH Research Focus Area



Faculty Advisor

Michelle Baker



This project assesses the impact of urbanization on stream nutrient dynamics and aquatic ecosystem health. I am testing the hypothesis that stream biofilms are nutrient saturated as a result of urban inputs. Nutrient diffusing substrata (NDS) will be used to determine changes in the nutrient limitation status of a stream as it flows along a mountain to urban gradient. In addition, NDS of various nutrient enrichment levels will enable identification of biological thresholds, and tracer release tests will capture the impact of urbanization on stream nutrient uptake rates. Improved understanding of stream response to increased nutrient loading can inform watershed management decisions on how to best improve and maintain water resources on the Wasatch Front.



Beth is a PhD student in the Department of Biology and the Ecology Center at Utah State University. After receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Earth and Environmental Science from Wesleyan University in 2009, she pursued a diversity of ecological experiences. These include contributing to a fen inventory for the U.S. Forest Service in Gunnison, CO, conducting soil science and climate change research for the USGS in Moab, UT, and working as a hydrologic technician for the U.S. Forest Service in Saratoga, WY. She is now excited to conduct research in the areas of aquatic ecology, biogeochemistry and hydrology.