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Trace metals in fresh water plankton


Holm, Thomas Russell (1978) Trace metals in fresh water plankton. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/86aa-4708.


The uptake of Cu, Zn, and Cd by fresh water plankton was studied by analyzing samples of water and plankton from six lakes in southern California. Co, Pb, Mn, Fe, Na, K, Mg, Ca, Sr, Ba, and Al were also determined in the plankton samples. Special precautions were taken during sampling and analysis to avoid metal contamination.

The relation between aqueous metal concentrations and the concentrations of metals in plankton was studied by plotting aqueous and plankton metal concentrations vs time and comparing the plots. No plankton metal plot showed the same changes as its corresponding aqueous metal plot, though long-term trends were similar. Thus, passive sorption did not completely explain plankton metal uptake.

The fractions of Cu, Zn, and Cd in lake water which were associated with plankton were calculated and these fractions were less than 1% in every case.

To see whether or not plankton metal uptake could deplete aqueous metal concentrations by measurable amounts (e.g. 20%) in short periods (e.g. less than six days), three integrated rate equations were used as models of plankton metal sorption. Parameters for the equations were taken from actual field measurements. Measurable reductions in concentration within short times were predicted by all three equations when the concentration factor was greater than 10^5. All Cu concentration factors were less than 10^5.

The role of plankton was regulating metal concentrations considered in the context of a model of trace metal chemistry in lakes. The model assumes that all particles can be represented by a single solid phase and that the solid phase controls aqueous metal concentrations. A term for the rate of in situ production of particulate matter is included and primary productivity was used for this parameter. In San Vicente Reservoir, the test case, the rate of in situ production of particulate matter was of the same order of magnitude as the rate of introduction of particulate matter by the influent stream.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Environmental Engineering
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Environmental Science and Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Morgan, James J.
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:19 December 1977
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:04292014-102557612
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8204
Deposited On:29 Apr 2014 17:54
Last Modified:09 Nov 2022 19:20

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