Date of Award

Fall 1983

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences



Committee Director

Raymond W. Alden

Committee Member

Harold G. Marshall

Committee Member

Daniel M. Dauer

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.B46 C75


A study was conducted to determine the potential impact of open ocean disposal of sediments dredged from a highly industrialized seaport. Sediments from three potential dredge sites along the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River, Hampton Roads, Virginia were evaluated for acute toxicity. The suspended particulate fractions of dredged materials were tested in a series of 96-hour, static bioassays using the calanoid copepod, Acartia tonsa Dana. Significant mortalities were observed for all three sites with the sediments from the most heavily industrialized site producing immediate and severe mortality. Analysis of results indicates that mortality was highly related to the volatile portion of suspended particulates and to site-specific factors. Potential effects on the zooplankton community are evaluated in reference to dispersal of suspended particulates in the open ocean. Advantages of a staining method for sorting live and dead copepods new to dredged material assessment are discussed.


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