Year of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department or School/College
College of Forestry and Conservation
Benjamin P. Colman
Robert O. Hall, Sean P. Sullivan
metal accumulation pathways, dietary bioaccumulation
University of Montana
Natural Resources and Conservation
It is well established that aqueous exposure and dietary exposure both lead to the accumulation of metals and metalloids in aquatic organisms living in a contaminated environment, but the relative contribution of each remains unclear. To examine how a contamination gradient affects patterns of metal(loid)s among periphyton, BPOM (benthic particulate organic matter), water, and sediment, we collected samples from multiple sites across a 210km stretch of the mine-contaminated Upper Clark Fork River, Montana. To investigate metal(loid) accumulation patterns among basal resources and aquatic insects, we collected samples of periphyton, BPOM, and larval insects from discrete habitat types at a single site. We analyzed all samples for the metalloid arsenic (As) and the metals cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu), lead (Pb), and zinc (Zn). We found that patterns in the aqueous metal and metalloid concentrations on a longitudinal scale did not show complete alignment with patterns of concentrations in BPOM and sediment and did not fully align with concentrations in periphyton. The disconnect between concentration patterns suggests that aqueous metal concentrations may not be driving metal accumulation in these environmental compartments. We also found that basal resources and aquatic insects differed in metal(loid) concentration depending on the habitat they were collected from, with wood habitats seemingly a driver of accumulation through diet. We suggest that feeding strategy, and thus diet, is partly responsible for overall accumulation patterns in aquatic insects living in a contaminated river.
Wisotzkey, Chelsea A., "Relationships Between Water, Sediment, Basal Resources, and Aquatic Insects in a Mine-Contaminated River on a Longitudinal and Habitat Patch Scale" (2022). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 11960.
© Copyright 2022 Chelsea A. Wisotzkey