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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Studies of the bivalve, Macoma balthica (L.) on a mudflat receiving sewage effluent and on an unpolluted mudflat, Fraser River estuary, British Columbia McGreer, Eric Rae


An investigation to determine the factors responsible for the distribution of a population of Maaoma balthica (L.) on a mudflat receiving sewage effluent was carried out in the Fraser River estuary of British Columbia. The factors examined were those suggested by previous studies to be controlling the distribution of the macro-invertebrate community. They included reduced salinity, low levels of dissolved oxygen, effluent toxicity, toxicity due to chlorination, substrate grain size, and the effects of metal contaminated sediments. Results of the study showed that salinity, dissolved oxygen levels and sediment grain size did not satisfactorily explain the distribution of M. balthica. Both unchlorinated and chlorinated sewage effluent were shown to be non-toxic to the clam in laboratory tests, and these results were confirmed by 7 day in situ bioassays. The factor which appeared to be responsible for the distribution of M. balthica was the degree of contamination of the substrate which affected the settling and survival of larval and juvenile clams. Heavy metals occurred in high concentrations in the contaminated sediments and were considered to be the most likely controlling factor.

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