Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Michael L. McKinney

Committee Members

Melanie A. Mayes, Ryan R. Otter


The goal of this study was to assess the effectiveness of using the invasive Asian clam, Corbicula fluminea, as a biomonitor for trace element bioavailability in the river system affected by the Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill of December 2008. I collected Corbicula from five different sites (n=20 per site) and analyzed both the soft body tissues and shells via inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES). I then compared the concentrations of a suite of elements in Corbicula fluminea among sampling sites and examined the correlation between soft tissue and shell concentrations. The multiple analysis of variance (MANOVA) for both the soft tissue and shell data showed significant (pCorbicula fluminea in the river system in the vicinity of the Kingston Fossil Plant. Given the species’ ubiquitous presence in this aquatic system, Corbicula fluminea could be used as a component of the long term monitoring of the 2008 ash spill.

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