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Environ Pollut. 1987;45(1):17-28.

The effects of intermittent exposure to suspended solids and turbulence on three species of freshwater mussels.

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Department of Biology, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Greensboro, NC 27411, USA.


A laboratory experiment was performed to evaluate the effects of intermittent suspended solids exposure on the unionid clams Quadrula pustolosa, Fusconaia cerina and Pleurobema beadleanum. Intermittent impacts of this type are important effects of commercial navigation traffic in freshwater. Clams were cyclically exposed to turbulence alone or accompanied by 600-750 mg litre(-1) of suspended inorganic solids for 9 days. Clams exposed to suspended solids every 3 h reduced their metabolic rate but did not shift from the mainly protein based catabolism of controls. Feeding impairment was apparently compensated for by a reduction in metabolic demand. Conversely, clams exposed every 0.5 h to suspended solids shifted to virtually complete reliance on non-protein body stores as indicated by O:N values averaging 197.

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