Date of Award

Fall 1982

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Ocean & Earth Sciences



Committee Director

Raymond W. Alden

Committee Member

Joseph H. Rule

Committee Member

Phillip R. Mundy

Committee Member

Daniel M. Dauer

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.O35A97


Two laboratory experiments, each lasting 216 hours, were conducted in order to determine the effects of a burrowing polychaete, Nereis succinea Frey and Leukart, 1847, on the distribution of copper, cadmium, and zinc in sediments and water in environmentally controlled microcosms. Dissolved metal concentrations in microcosms containing worms (experimental) decreased more rapidly than in microcosms without worms (controls). From 72 hours to 216 hours, suspended metal concentrations in experimental microcosms increased while concentrations in controls remained relatively constant. Sediment cadmium concentrations in experimental microcosms increased more over time than in controls. Polychaetes accumulated significant amounts of all three metals. These observations indicated that N. succinea initially enhances the removal of metals from the water column to sediments, but later causes some resuspension of metals. Bioaccumulation by N. succinea could result in the incorporation of metals into the food chain.


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