Department Chair

Daniel L. Potts, Ph.D.

Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

Biology, M.A.


Biology Department


Alicia Pérez-Fuentetaja, Ph.D

First Reader

Alicia Pérez-Fuentetaja, Ph.D

Second Reader

Randal J. Snyder, Ph.D.

Third Reader

I. Martha Skerrett, Ph.D


Modern sewage treatment processes do not remove many chemicals that pass through the sewer system, including pharmaceuticals and personal care products that have been shown to have negative effects in ecosystems. New processes have been developed to remove these chemicals, known as advanced oxidation processes (AOPs). In this study, Daphnia magna are used to examine the effects of wastewater effluent treated conventionally compared to effluent treated with AOPs (Peracetic Acid/Ultraviolet Light and Hydrogen Peroxide/Ultraviolet Light). For this purpose, two sets of experiments were preformed: a five-day survivorship trial, and a 14-day life history experiment. Growth, survival, and reproduction of Daphnia magna raised in the different effluents were examined. Furthermore, Daphnia metabolites were quantified using metabolomics. Results from survivorship trials show an increase in survival of animals exposed to effluent treated with concentrations of 6 mg of peracetic acid/UV. In the 14-day life history experiment it was found that the 3 mg peracetic acid/UV treatment had a negative effect on Daphnia’s body growth, lipid production, and reproduction as well as the intrinsic rate of population growth, or the potential for the population to exist overtime, more so than the conventional secondary effluent. In contrast, the effects of hydrogen peroxide/UV treatment showed the lowest toxic effects, comparable to the control animals. These experiments offer insights into how wastewater treated with AOPs and discharged into a natural body of water could affect zooplankton and sensitive early life stages of other aquatic organisms, which together represent the primary consumer level of aquatic food webs.