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The use of the three-ridge clam (Amblema perplicata) to monitor trace metal contamination


The three-ridge clamAmblema perplicata was used to monitor two streams for the presence of zinc (Zn) and cadmium (Cd) derived from an industrial source. Clams were collected from a relatively uncontaminated area in one river and transported to four study sites in the two contaminated streams. The clams were placed into polyethylene cages and left in these streams for one week. Control clams were treated in a similar manner and left in the uncontaminated river.

The highest mean concentration of Zn (956 µg/g dry wt) was found in the gill tissue of clams from the most contaminated site. The highest mean Cd concentration (18.6 µg/ g dry wt) was found in digestive glands of clams, also from the most contaminated site. Mean concentrations at contaminated sites were significantly higher than background and control levels; the findings suggest that these particular organs of clams may be useful in monitoring levels of Zn and Cd in other freshwater systems.

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Correspondence to Gary J. Atchison.

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Adams, T.G., Atchison, G.J. & Vetter, R.J. The use of the three-ridge clam (Amblema perplicata) to monitor trace metal contamination. Hydrobiologia 83, 67–72 (1981).

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  • Cadmium
  • zinc
  • pollution
  • molluscs
  • monitoring