Publication Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences


BOD, chemical oxygen demand, dissolved oxygen, fish kill, hypoxia, sediment oxygen demand


Rapid dissolved oxygen (DO) depletion, caused by inorganic chemical oxygen demand (COD) of re-suspended sediment compounds, has been documented in few studies, yet fish kills occur often from the process. Pescadero Lagoon, California, USA, a bar-built lagoon that suffers annual fish kills caused by rapid mixing-induced hypoxia upon sandbar breach, was studied to investigate the potential for COD of re-suspended sediment to deplete oxygen. In-situ chamber mixing trials demonstrated that re-suspended sediment can exert powerful oxygen demand on receiving waters. Surface DO depletion upon bar breach was too severe to be explained solely by mixing of the anoxic hypolimnion into the water column, and the depletion was too rapid to be attributed to biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), making COD of re-suspended sediment the likely direct cause. Sedimentous iron and sulfur compounds that exert COD are reduced under anoxic conditions created by water column stratification and BOD of heterotrophic bacteria.