Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

The Asiatic clam, Corbicula spp., as a biological monitor in freshwater environments

  • 251 Accesses

  • 67 Citations

Abstract

Asiatic clams, Corbicula spp., are filter-feeding freshwater bivalves that are widely distributed, abundant, and fast growing with a lifespan of 1–3 yrs. A review of the existing literature demonstrates that Asiatic clams can concentrate organic pollutants from both water and sediment and heavy metals from water. In conjunction with these traits, they exhibit a high tolerance for the effects resulting from exposure to toxic substances. While an organism must possess these traits to serve as an effective biological monitor, they have also permitted the Asiatic clam to rapidly colonize natural and industrial environments resulting in purported ecological disturbances and severe economic repurcussions, respectively. Its invasive biofouling attributes therefore restrict the use of Asiatic clams for biomonitoring purposes from Corbicula-free drainage systems.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Anderson, K. B., Sparks, R. E., and Paparo, A. A.: 1978, ‘Rapid Assessment of Water Quality, Using the Fingernail Clam, Musculium transversum’, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Water Resources Center Research Report No. 133, 115 pp.

  2. Anderson, R. S.: 1985, ‘Metabolism of a Model Environmental Carcinogen by Bivalve Molluscs’, Mar. Environ. Res. 17, 137–140.

  3. Bedford, J. W., Roelofs, E. E., and Zabik, M. H.: 1968, ‘The Fresh-Water Mussel as a Biological Monitor of Pesticide Concentrations in a Lotic Environment’, Limnol. Oceanogr. 13, 118–126.

  4. Belanger, S. E., Cherry, D. S., and Cairns, J.Jr.: 1986a, ‘Seasonal, Behavioral, and Growth Changes of Juvenile Corbicula fluminea Exposed to Chrysotile Asbestos’, Water Res. 20, 1243–1250.

  5. Belanger, S. E., Cherry, D. S., and Cairns, J.Jr.: 1986b, ‘Uptake of Chrysotile Asbestos Fibers Alters Growth and Reproduction of Asiatic Clams’, Can. J. Fish. Aq. Sc. 43, 43–52.

  6. Belanger, S. E., Farris, J. L., Cherry, D. S., and Cairns, J.Jr.: 1986c, ‘Growth of Asiatic (Corbicula sp.) during and after Long-Term Zinc Exposure in Field-Located and Laboratory Artificial Streams’, Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 15, 427–434.

  7. Belanger, S. E., Cherry, D. S., Cairns, J.Jr., and McGuire, M. J.: 1987, ‘Using Asiatic Clams as a Biomonitor for Chrysotile Asbestos in Public Water Supplies’, J. Amer. Water Works Ass. 79, 69–74.

  8. Booth, G. M., Yu, C., and Hansen, D. J.: 1973, ‘Fate, Metabolism, and Toxicity of 3-Isopropyl-1H-2,1,3-Benzothiadiazin-4 (3H)-1-2,2-Dioxide in a Model Ecosystemn, J. Environ. Quality 2, 408–411.

  9. Britton, J. C., Coldiron, D. R., Evans, L. P., Jr. Golightly, C., O'Kane, K. D., and TenEyck, J. R.: 1979, ‘Reevaluation of the Growth Pattern in Corbicula fluminea (Muller)’, in Britton, J. C. (ed.), Proceedings, First International Corbicula Symposium, Texas Christian University Research Foundation, Fort Worth, pp. 177–192.

  10. Butler, P. A.: 1973, ‘Organochlorine Residues in Estuarine Mollusks, 1965–72. National Pesticide Monitoring Program’, Pestic. Monit. J. 6, 238–362.

  11. Caldwell, R. S., and Buhler, D. R.: 1983, ‘Heavy Metals in Estuarine Shellfish from Oregon’, Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 12, 15–23.

  12. Cantelmo-Cristini, A., Hospod, F. E., and Lazell, R. J.: 1985, ‘An in situ Study of the Adenylate Energy Charge of Corbicula fluminea in a Freshwater System’, in Vernberg, F. J., Thurberg, F. P., Calabrese, A., and Vernberg, W. (eds.), Marine Pollution and Physiology: Recent Advances, Univ. South Carolina Press, Columbia, pp. 45–62.

  13. Cassini, A., Tallandini, L. Favero, N., and Albergoni, V.: 1986, ‘Cadmium Bioaccumulation Studies in the Freshwater Molluscs Anodonta cygnea and Unio elongatulus’, Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 84C, 35–41.

  14. Cherry, D. S., Cairns, J.Jr., and Graney, R. L.: 1980, ‘Asiatic Clam Invasion: Causes and Effects’, Water Spectrom. 12, 19–24.

  15. Claeys, R. R., Caldwell, R. S., Cutshall, N. H., and Holton, R.: 1975, ‘Chlorinated Pesticides and Polychlorinated Biphenyls in Marine Species, Oregon/Washington Coast, 1972’, Pestic. Monit. J. 9, 2–10.

  16. Clarke, J. H., Clarke, A. N., Wilson, D. J., and Friauf, J. J.: 1979, ‘On the Use of Corbicula fluminea as Indicators of Heavy Metal Contamination’, in Britton, J. C. (ed.), Proceedings, First International Corbicula Symposium, Texas Christian University Research Foundation, Fort Worth, pp. 153–163.

  17. Counts, C. L., III.: 1986, ‘The Zoogeography and History of the Invasion of the United States by Corbicula fluminea (Bivalvia: Corbiculidae)’, in Prezant, R. S. (ed.), Proceedings of the Second International Corbicula Symposium, American Malacological Bulletin, Special Edition No. 2, pp. 7–39.

  18. Czarnezki, J. M.: 1987, ‘Use of the Pocketbook Mussel, Lampsilis ventricosa for Monitoring Heavy Metal Pollution in an Ozark Stream’, Bull. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 38, 641–646.

  19. Dare, P. J. and Edwards, D. B.: 1975, ‘Seasonal Changes in Flesh Weight and Biochemical Composition of Mussels (Mytilus edulis L.) in the Conwy Estuary, North Wales, J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 18, 89–97.

  20. Davis, J. P. and Wilson, J. G.: 1983, ‘Seasonal Changes in Tissue Weight and Biochemical Composition of the Bivavle Nucula turgida in Dublin Bay with Reference to Gametogenesis’, Netherlands J. Sea Res. 17, 84–95.

  21. Doherty, F. G. and Cherry, D. S. L. 1988, ‘Tolerance of the Asiatic Clam Corbicula spp. to Lethal Levels of Toxic Stressors-A Review’, Environ. Pollut. 51, 269–313.

  22. Doherty, F. G., Cherry, D. S., and Cairns, J.Jr.: 1987a, ‘Spawning Periodicity of the Asiatic Clam Corbicula fluminea in the New River, Virginia’, Amer. Midl. Nat. 117, 71–82.

  23. Doherty, F. G., Cherry, D. S., and Cairns, J.Jr.: 1987b, ‘Valve Closure Responses of the Asiatic Clam Corbicula fluminea Exposed to Cadmium and Zinc’, Hydrobiol. 153, 159–167.

  24. Doherty, F. G., Failla, M. L., and Cherry, D. S.: 1988, ‘Metallothionein-Like Heavy Metal Binding Protein Levels in Asiatic Clams Are Dependent on the Duration and Mode of Exposure to Cadmium’, Water Res. 22, 927–932.

  25. Elder, J. F. and Mattraw, H. C.Jr.: 1984, ‘Accumulation of Trace Elements, Pesticides, and Polychlorinated Biphenyls in Sediments and the Clam Corbicula manilensis of the Apalachicola River, Florida’, Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 13, 453–469.

  26. Farris, J. L.: 1986, ‘Cellulotytic Responses to Heavy Metal Accumulation in Corbicula fluminea and Mudalia dilatata’, Ph.D. Dissertation, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, 170 pp.

  27. Farris, J. L., vanHassel, J. H., Belanger, S. E., Cherry, D. S., and Cairns, J.Jr.: 1988, ‘Application of Cellulolytic Activity of Asiatic Clams (Corbicula sp.) to In-Stream Monitoring of Power Plant Effluents’, Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 7, 701–713.

  28. Fikes, M. H. and Tubb, R. A.: 1972, ‘Dieldrin Uptake in the Three-Ridge Naiad’, J. Wildlife Management 36, 802–809.

  29. Foe, C. and Knight, A.: 1986, ‘A Method for Evaluating the Sublethal Impact of Stress Employing Corbicula fluminea’, in Prezant, R. S. (ed.), Proceedings of the Second International Corbicula Symposium, American Malacological Bulletin, Special Edition No. 2, pp. 133–142.

  30. Foe, C. and Knight, A.: 1987, ‘Assessment of the Biological Impact of Point Source Discharges Employing Asiatic Clams’, Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 16, 39–51.

  31. Foster, R. B. and Bates, J. M.: 1978, ‘Use of Freshwater Mussels to Monitor Point Gource Industrial Discharge’, Environ. Sci. Technol. 12, 958–962.

  32. Fritz, L. W. and Lutz, R. A.: 1986, ‘Environmental Perturbations Reflected in Internal Shell Growth Patterns of Corbicula fluminea (Mollusca: Bivalvia)’, The Veliger 28, 401–417.

  33. Fuller, L. S. H. and Richardson, J. W.: 1977, ‘Amensalistic Competition between Corbicula manilensis (Philippi), the Asiatic Clam (Corbiculidae), and Fresh-Water Mussels (Unionidae) in the Savannah River of Georgia and South Carolina (Mollusca: Bivalvia)’, ASB Bull. 24, 52.

  34. Gabbott, P. A. and Bayne, B. L.: 1973, ‘Biochemical Effects of Temperature and Nutritive Stress on Mytilus edulis L.’, J. Mar. Biol. Ass. U.K. 53, 269–286.

  35. Gardner, J. A.Jr., Woodall, W. R.Jr., Staats, A. A.Jr., and Napoli, J. F.: 1976, ‘The Invasion of the Asiatic Clam (Corbicula manilensis Philippi) in the Altamaha River, Georgia’, Nautilus 90, 117–125.

  36. Geisy, J. P., Duke, C. S., Bingham, R. D., and Dickson, G. W.: 1983, ‘Changes in Phosphoadenylate Energy Charge as an Integrated Biochemical Measure of Stress in Invertebrates: The Effects of Cadmium on the Freshwater Clam Corbicula fluminea’, Toxicol. Environ. Chem. 6, 259–295.

  37. Graney, R. L., Cherry, D. S., and Cairns, J.Jr.: 1983, ‘Heavy Metal Indicator Potential of the Asiatic Clam (Corbicula fluminea) in Artificial Stream Systems’, Hydrobiol. 102, 81–88.

  38. Graney, R. L., Cherry, D. S. and Cairns, J.Jr.: 1984, ‘The Influence of Substrate, pH, Diet and Temperature upon Cadmium Accumulation in the Asiatic Clam (Corbicula fluminea) in Laboratory Artificial Streams’, Water Res. 18, 833–842.

  39. Graney, R. L. and Geisy, J. P.Jr.: 1988, ‘Alterations in the Oxygen Consumption, Condition Index and Concentration of Free Amino Acids in Corbicula fluminea (Mollusca: Pelecypoda) Exposed to Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate’, Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 7, 301–315.

  40. Hagar, A. F. and Dietz, T. H.: 1986, ‘Seasonal Changes in the Lipid Composition of Gill Tissue from the Freshwater Mussel Carunculina texasesis’, Physiol. Zool. 59, 419–428.

  41. Hamm, P. J.: 1982, ‘What Are We Doing about the Asiatic Clam?’, Power 126, 25–28.

  42. Harrison, F. L., Knezovich, J. P., and Rice, D. W.Jr.: 1984, ‘The Toxicity of Copper to the Adult and Early Life Stages of the Freshwater Clam, Corbicula manilensis’, Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 13, 85–92.

  43. Harrison, F. L. and Quinn, D. J.: 1972, ‘Tissue Distribution of Accumulated Radionuclides in Freshwater Clams’, Health Phys. 23, 509–517.

  44. Hartley, D. M. and Johnston, J. B.: 1983, ‘Use of the Freshwater Clam Corbicula manilensis as Monitor for Organochlorine Pesticides’, Bull. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 31, 33–40.

  45. Heit, M., Klusek, C. S., and Miller, K. M.: 1980, ‘Trace Element, Radionuclide, and Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbon Concentrations in Unionidae Mussels from Northern Lake George’, Environ. Sci. Technol. 14, 465–468.

  46. Hemelraad, J., Holwerda, D. A., and Zandee, D. I.: 1986a, ‘Cadmium Accumulation in Anodonta cygnea’, Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 15, 1–7.

  47. Hemelraad, J., Holwerda, D. A., Teerds, K. J., Herwig, H. J., and Zandee, D. I.: 1986b, ‘Cadmium Kinetics in Freshwater Clams. II.A Comparative Study of Cadmium Uptake and Cellular Distribution in the Unionidae Anodonta cygnea, Anodonta anatina, and Unio pictorum’, Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 15, 9–21.

  48. Hennig, H. F.-K. O.: 1986, ‘Metal-Binding Proteins as Metal Pollution Indicators’, Environ. Health Pers 65, 175–187.

  49. Imlay, M. J.: 1982, ‘Use of Shells of Freshwater Mussels in Monitoring Heavy Metals and Environmental Stresses: A Review’, Malacol. Rev. 15, 1–14.

  50. Johnston, J. B. and Hartley, D. M.: 1981, ‘Bivalves as Monitors for Persistent Pollutants in Marine and Freshwater Environments’, in Somani, S. M. and Cavender, F. L. (eds.) Environmental Toxicology: Principles and Policies, Charles C. Thomas, Springfield, pp. 184–198.

  51. Joy, J. E., Pritchard, A. J., and Danford, D.: 1983, ‘Corbicula fluminea (Mollusca: Pelecypoda) as a Biological Indicator of Heavy Metals in the Kanawha River, WV’, West Virginia Acad. Sci. 55, 113–117.

  52. Kraemer, L. R.: 1979, ‘Corbicula (Bivalvia: Sphaeriacea) vs Indigenous Mussels (Bivalvia: Unionacea) in U.S. Rivers: A Hard Case for Interspecific Competion?’, Amer. Zool. 19, 1085–1096.

  53. Kraemer, L. R. and Lott, S.: 1977, ‘Microscopic Anatomy of the Visceral Mass of Corbicula (Bivalvia: Sphaeriacea)’, Bull. Amer. Malacol. Union, Inc. 1977, 48–55.

  54. Kraemer, L. R., Swanson, C., Galloway, M., and Kraemer, R.: 1986, ‘Biological Basis of Behavior in Corbicula manilensis, II. Functional Morphology of Reproduction and Development and Review of Evidence for Self-Fertilization’, in Prezant, R. S. (ed.), Proceedings of the Second International Corbicula Symposium, American Malacological Bulletin, Special Edition No. 2, pp. 193–201.

  55. Leard, R. L., Grantham, B. J., and Pessoney, G. F.: 1980, ‘Use of Selected Freshwater Bivalves for Monitoring organochlorine Pesticide Residues in Major Mississippi Stream Systems, 1972–1973’, Pestic. Monit. J. 14, 47–52.

  56. Livingston, R. J., Thompson, N. P., and Meeter, D. A.: 1978, ‘Longterm Variation of Organochlorine Residues and Assemblages of Epibenthic organisms in a Shallow North Florida (USA) Estuary’, Mar. Biol. 46, 355–372.

  57. Livingstone, D. R. and Farrar, S. V.: 1985, ‘Responses of the Mixed Function Oxidase System of Some Bivalve and Gastropod Molluscs to Exposure to Polynuclear Aromatic and other Hydrocarbons’, Mar. Environ. Res. 17, 101–105.

  58. Mac, M. J., Edsall, C. C., Hesselberg, R. J., and Sayers, R. E.Jr.: 1984, ‘Flow-Through Bioassay for Measuring Bioaccumulation of Toxic Substances from Sediment’, EPA 905/3-84-007, USEPA, Great Lakes National Program Office, Chicago, Illinois.

  59. Manley, R. and George, W. O.: 1977, ‘The Occurrence of some Heavy Metals in Populations of the Freshwater Mussel Anodonta anatina (L.) from the River Thames’, Environ. Pollut. 14, 139–154.

  60. Martin, S. G. and Sparks, A. K.: 1971, ‘Histo-Pathological Effects of Copper Sulfate on the Asiatic Freshwater Clam, Corbicula fluminea’, Proc. Nat. Shellfish Assoc. 61, 10.

  61. Mathis, B. J. and Cummings, T. F.: 1973, ‘Selected Metals in Sediments, Water, and Biota in the Illinois River’, J. Water Pollut. Cont. Fed. 45, 1573–1583.

  62. Mattice, J. S. and Wright, L. L.: 1986, ‘Aspects of Growth of Corbicula fluminea’, in Prezant, R. S. (ed.), Proceedings of the Second International Coricula Symposium, American Malacological Bulletin, Special Edition No. 2, pp. 167–178.

  63. McLeod, M. J.: 1986, ‘Electrophoretic Variation in North American Corbicula’, in Prezant, R. S. (ed.), Proceedings of the Second International Corbicula Symposium, American Malacological Bulletin, Special Edition No. 2, pp. 125–132.

  64. McMahon, R. F.: 1982, ‘The Occurrence and Spread of the Introduced Asiatic Freshwater Clam, Corbicula fluminea (Muller), in North America: 1924–1982’, Nautilus 96, 134–141.

  65. McMahon, R. F. and Williams, C. J.: 1986, ‘A Ressessment of Growth Rate, Life Span, Life Cycles and Population Dynamics in a Natural Population and Field Caged Individuals of Corbicula Fluminea (Muller) (Bivalvia: Corbiculacea)’, in Prezant, R. S. (ed.), Proceedings of the Second International Corbicula Symposium, American Malacological Bulletin, Special Edition No. 2, pp. 151–166.

  66. Modin, J. C.: 1969, ‘Chlorinated Hydrocarbon Pesticides in California Bays and Estuaries’, Pestic. Monit. J. 3, 1–7.

  67. Morton, B.: 1979, ‘Freshwater Fouling Bivalves’, in Britton, J. C. (ed.), Proceedings, First International Corbicula Symposium, Texas Christian University Research Foundation, Forth Worth, pp. 1–14.

  68. Nelson, D. J.: 1962, ‘Clams as Indicators of Strontium-90’, Science 137, 38–39.

  69. Parke, D. V.: 1985, ‘The Role Cytochrome P-450 in the Metabolism of Pollutants’, Mar. Environ. Res. 17, 97–100.

  70. Payne, J. F.: 1984, ‘Mixed-Function Oxygenases in Biological Monitoring Programs: Review of Potential Usage in Different Phyla of Aquatic Animals’, in Persoone, G., Jaspers, E., and Claus, C. (eds.), Ecotoxicological Testing for the Marine Environment, State Univ. Ghent and Inst. Mar. Scient. Res., Bredene, Belgium, pp. 625–655.

  71. Payne, J. F., Fancey, L., Kiceniuk, J., Williams, V., Osborne, J., and Rahimtula, A.: 1985, ‘Mixed-Function Oxygenases as Biological Monitors Around Petroleum Hydrocarbon Development Sites: Potential for Induction by Diesel and other Drilling Mud Base Oils Containing Reduced Levels of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons’, Mar. Environ. Res. 17, 328–332.

  72. Phillips, D. J. H.: 1977, ‘The Use of Biological Indicator Organisms to Monitor Trace Metal Pollution in Marine and Estuarine Environments-A Review’, Environ. Pollut. 13, 281–317.

  73. Powell, E. N., Kasschau, M., Chen, E., Koenig, M., and Pecon, J.: 1982, ‘Changes in the Free Amino Acid Pool during Environmental Stress in the Gill Tissue of the Oyster, Crassostrea virginica’, Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 71A, 591–598.

  74. Rand, G. M. and Petrocelli, S. M. (eds.): 1985, Fundamentals of Aquatic Toxicology, Hemisphere Pub. Corp., Washington, 666 pp.

  75. Renzoni, A. and Bacci, E.: 1976, ‘Bodily Distribution, Accumulation and Excretion of Mercury in a Fresh Water Mussel’, Bull. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 15, 366–373.

  76. Rodgers, J. H., Jr., Cherry, D. S., Dickson, K. L., and Cairns, J., Jr.: 1979, ‘Invasion, Population Dynamics and Elemental Accumulation of Corbicula fluminea in the New River at Glen Lyn, Virginia’, in Britton, J. C. (ed.), Proceedings, First International Corbicula Symposium, Texas Christian University Research Foundation, Forth Worth, pp. 99–110.

  77. Rodgers, J. H.Jr.: Cherry, D. S., R. L.Graney, Dickson, K. L., and Cairns, J.Jr.: 1980, Comparison of Heavy Metal Interactions in Acute and Artificial Stream Bioassay Techniques for the Asiatic Clam (Corbicula fluminea) in Eaton, J. G., Parrish, P. R., and Hendricks, A. C. (eds), Aquatic Toxicology, ASTM STP 707, American Society for Testing and Materials, Philadelphia, pp. 266–280.

  78. Sanborn, J. R. and Yu, C.: 1973, ‘The Fate of Dieldrin in a Model Ecosystem’, Bull. Environ. Contam Toxicol. 10, 340–346.

  79. Sappington, K. G.: 1987, Toxicological, Physiological, and Behavioral Responses of the Asiatic Clam, Corbicula sp. to Biocidal and Copper Perturbations, M. S. Thesis, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, Blacksburg, Virginia.

  80. Simkiss, K., Taylor, M., and Mason, A.Z.: 1982, ‘Metal Detoxification and Bioaccumulation in Molluscs’, Mar. Biol. Letters 3, 187–201.

  81. Smith, A. L., R. H.Green, and Lutz, A.: 1975, ‘Uptake of Mercury by Freshwater Clams (Family Unionidae)’, J. Fish. Res. Board Can. 32, 1297–1303.

  82. Smith, G. E. and Isom, B. G.: 1967, ‘Investigation of Effects of Large-Scale Applications of 2,4-D on Aquatic Fauna and Water Quality’, Pestic. Monit. J. 1, 16–21.

  83. Tatem, H. E.: 1986, ‘Bioaccumulation of Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Metals from Contaminated Sediment by Freshwater Prawns, Macrobrachium rosenbergii and Clams, Corbicula fluminea’, Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 15, 171–183.

  84. US Army Corps of Engineers (US ACE): 1981, ‘Water Quality Management Studies, Lake Seminole, April-November 1978, Phase I' Technical Report Mobile, AL, ACF 80-10.

  85. US Army Corps of Engineers (US ACE): 1982, ‘Water Quality Management Studies, Lake Seminole, February-December 1979, Phase II' Technical Report ACF 80-11.

  86. Yu, C., Booth, G. M., Hansen, D. J. and Larsen, J. R.: 1974, ‘Fate of Carbofuran in a Model Ecosystem’, J. Agr. Food Chem. 22, 431–434.

  87. Zischke, J. A. and Arthur, J. W.: 1987, ‘Effects of Elevated Ammonia Levels on the Fingernail Clam, Musculum transversum, in Outdoor Experimental Streams’, Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 16, 225–231.

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Doherty, F.G. The Asiatic clam, Corbicula spp., as a biological monitor in freshwater environments. Environ Monit Assess 15, 143–181 (1990). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00398912

Download citation

Keywords

  • Heavy Metal
  • Environmental Management
  • Bivalve
  • Organic Pollutant
  • Toxic Substance