Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

Department

Biology

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

The Asiatic clam Corbicula fluminea is a filter-feeding habitat generalist. Carbon isotopic composition (δ13C) of C. fluminea body tissue was compared between reaches of Kentucky’s upper Green River that differed in Cladophora growth. Corbicula fluminea from an upstream reach with little Cladophora was translocated to a downstream reach with high Cladophora levels. Individuals from both reaches were placed in mussel silos in the same downstream reach in autumn 2012 and again in 2013 for 77 and 119 days, respectively. Flow during 2012 consisted of no high flow events until late autumn. Flow patterns in 2013 were consistently higher and more variable. In 2012 the upstream C. fluminea were 13C-depleted over time compared to no temporal change in the downstream C. fluminea. The trend was opposite in 2013. Upstream C. fluminea were more 13C-enriched over time whereas, again, there was no temporal change in the downstream C. fluminea. Estimated dietary contributions of basal resources using IsoSource found between-year trends that suggested that Cladophora fragments may represent an important food component during years with low flows and dense macroalgal growth.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Dr. Scott Grubbs (Director), Dr. Albert Meier, Dr. Benjamin LaPoe

Disciplines

Biology | Food Science | Speleology

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