Date of Award


Degree Name

Biological Sciences


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

James E. Joy

Second Advisor

Leonard J. Deutsch


Populations of the freshwater mussel Anodonta imbecillis Say 1829, were sampled from six ponds at the Clifton F. McClintic Public Hunting and Fishing Area in Mason County West Virginia from April 1986 to May 1987. One of the six ponds, pond 12, is contaminated with byproducts from the manufacture of TNT which occurred at the site during World War II. Population density, length frequency distribution, growth rates and condition indices were examined for each population to establish baseline data for the species and to determine what effects the contaminants might be having on these organisms.

Population densities ranged from 4.8 mussels per square meter in pond 6 to 26.0 individuals per square meter in pond 27. All ponds except pond 12 were dominated by the 70.0 - 80.0 mm size class. The 60.0 - 70.0 mm size class was dominant in pond 12. Combined growth data revealed rapid growth for this species resulting in attainment of 90% of their estimated maximum size by the fifth year. Growth rates for pond 12 mussels were lower than for other ponds although these mussels were not significantly less healthy. Pond 6 mussels were found to be healthier by all measurements used.

While there is no strong evidence for decreased health in pond 12 mussels, decreased growth rates and some degree of stunting seem to exist. Further investigation such as soft tissue analysis to test for possible accumulation of the contaminants is necessary in order to fully understand the effects of the presence of these chemical compounds on this species.


Unionidae – West Virginia – Mason County.