Department Chair

Alexander Karatayev, Ph.D., Professor of Biology and Director of the Great Lakes Center

Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

Great Lakes Ecosystem Science


Great Lakes Center


Tao Tang, Ph.D., Professor of Geography

First Reader

Tao Tang, Ph.D., Professor of Geography

Second Reader

Stephen Vermette, Ph.D., Professor of Geography

Third Reader

Daniel L. Potts, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology


Trapa natans (water chestnut) is an exotic annual aquatic plant, which is native to Eurasian and African continents. It is an invasive species in North America and has already caused serious environmental problems because of its strong capability of adaption and propagation. The objectives of this research were to survey and map water chestnut in the lower Tonawanda Creek (Erie Canal) applying unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), evaluate the current management of controlling and removing water chestnut, and analyze how land use and land cover (LULC), as well as habitat conditions, influence the growth of water chestnut. The UAV was not only applied to detect water chestnut plants, but also used to monitor the three-dimensional habitat conditions along the lower Tonawanda Creek. The land use and land cover (LULC) classification of the study area was accomplished in ERDAS Imagine, the spatial interpolation of temperature and relative humidity was conducted in ArcGIS software environment, and the vertical changes of temperature and humidity along different cross-sections were plotted in R software environment. The results show that LULC have effect on the growth of water chestnut and environmental conditions (temperature and relative humidity). However, no strong evidence shows relationship between the growth of water chestnut and habitat conditions of temperature and humidity.