Defense Date

12-13-2011

Graduation Date

2011

Availability

Immediate Access

Submission Type

thesis

Degree Name

MS

Department

Biological Sciences

School

Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Committee Chair

Sarah Woodley

Committee Member

John Stolz

Committee Member

Kyle Selcer

Committee Member

Brady Porter

Keywords

Salinity, Total dissolved solids

Abstract

Increased levels of total dissolved solids (TDS) in stream habitats are of concern due to salinity as well as the presence of potentially toxic ions. Natural gas drilling in the Marcellus shale could increase TDS in nearby streams. This thesis investigated the effects of water with elevated TDS on the locomotory activity and body weight of the streamside salamander Desmognathus ochrophaeus. Salamanders were exposed to water collected from streams in southwest Pennsylvania with elevated TDS as well as synthetic ion solutions that mimicked the ionic composition found in streams. Chronic, but not acute exposure to solutions of 1000 ppm TDS caused significant differences in weight loss and locomotory activity, although the effect depended on the exact ion composition of the dissolved solids. Finally, field surveys of salamander abundance were completed on two streams to provide baseline data with which to track population changes should the TDS in the streams increase.

Format

PDF

Language

English

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