A Statistical Analysis of River Flow Rate and Turbidity

Student Author(s)

Brieana Linton
Micaela Wells

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Paul Pearson and Dr. Yew Meng Koh

Document Type


Event Date



The scientific community has established a correlation between river flow rate and turbidity, but the vast majority of research thus far has been focused on large rivers and bodies of water. Can the same conclusions be drawn from smaller rivers that may be subject to more local variance, such as weather, animal movement, and plant growth? After analyzing data from three streamlets, we conclude that studies on small, local ecosystems suffer the effects of confounding variables to a greater extent than studies on larger, more stable ecosystems. Because small rivers are subject to more variance than large rivers, no correlations were found between flow rate and turbidity.


This research was supported by the Day1 Program and the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation.

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