Survival and biochemical health indicators of Elliptio complanata deployed in Anacostia River tributaries for monitoring of persistent organic contaminants
Harrison, Rachel Marie
Yonkos, Lance T
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The Anacostia River is one of three regions-of-concern in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, and organochlorine pesticides are known to accumulate in sediment and biota within portions of the Anacostia system, but on-going contaminant sources are poorly understood. The current study investigates relative contaminant burdens in the freshwater mussel Elliptio complanata deployed in six non-tidal Anacostia tributaries and an out-of-system reference site. Mussels acquire contaminants during feeding and are a useful tool for monitoring POPs transporting through the system. Mussels were effective at identifying sites with high contaminant loads. The study also investigates the suitability of Anacostia tributaries for reintroduction of E. complanata to increase benthic community diversity and potentially improve water quality. Survival and growth during deployment was very good for both sampling seasons. Biochemical health parameters of deployed mussels suggest that conditions may be suitable for mussel reintroduction.