Theses and Dissertations


Mike Maguigan

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Rodgers III, John C.

Committee Member

Dyer, Jamie L.

Committee Member

Dash, Padmanava

Committee Member

Meng, Quiming

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Geosciences


Southern Appalachian wetlands have yet to be studied in terms of net primary production (NPP), thus few studies have been conducted to examine what environmental factors have relationships with NPP. To that end, this research investigates several facets of southern Appalachian wetland production. The research was divided into three studies. The first study was conducted to answer the question of what environmental factors have relationships with NPP. It appears that stream discharge and annual precipitation had the strongest relationships with NPP (r = 0.91, p <0.05 and r = 0.81, p <0.05, respectively), yet both factors showed multicolinearity (r = 0.97, p <0.05). The strong relationships between hydrologic factors and NPP is similar to montane wetlands in the western United States. The second study was conducted to examine the relationship between water chemistry and NPP. Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg), and pH were examined in order to determine if any of the aforementioned factors had a relationship with NPP. Neither Ca (r = -0.34, p = 0.0835) nor Mg (r =-0.38, p = 0.0535) had strong relationships with NPP, though pH (r = -0.66, p <0.05) had a strong negative relationship with NPP. The acidity of the stream water, driven by the acid rain in the southern Appalachians, creates enhanced conditions for wetland plants to grow. The third study was conducted to establish which vegetation index was best for estimating NPP from proximally and remotely sensed data. The findings suggest that VARIRed Edge was best for examining NPP at the in situ level, NDVI was best for examining NPP at the airborne level, and the DVI was the best for examining NPP at the satellite level. NPP in southern Appalachian wetlands is driven by the chemistry, specifically the pH, of stream discharge and annual precipitation and can be monitored by NDVI using NAIP data or DVI using Landsat data. The examination of NPP in southern Appalachians in response to environmental factors and water chemistry along with the examination of vegetation indices at three levels of platforms will help to monitor and manage these rare and unique ecosystems in the future.