Earth and Planetary Sciences ETDs

Publication Date



An investigation of iron, zinc, copper, and cadmium concentrations in Mytilus californianus and Mytilus edulis was conducted on specimens collected along the west coast of the United States. Animals and sea water were collected at six different areas and analyzed using an Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer. Trace metal concentrations in the animals were influenced by the collection conditions of age, species, temperature, pollution, and metal relationships. Younger animals, of both species, contained higher concentrations of all the metals. Larger, or older animals, contained the smallest metal concentrations. Copper concentrations in the animals were higher in sea water with high copper content. Iron, zinc, and cadmium showed no statistically significant trends in animal metal concentrations related to sea water metal content.

Animal concentrations of zinc were strongly influenced by temperature. High concentrations of zinc occurred in animals in colder water. Iron, copper, and cadmium concentrations, by the animals, were not significantly influenced by temperature.

The ratios of concentrations of iron and copper and zinc and cadmium showed positive correlations in individual animals. Iron and zinc concen­trations showed a negative correlation in individual animals. Iron and cadmium, zinc and copper, and copper and cadmium showed no statistically significant trends in animal concentration of one metal in relation to another.

Degree Name

Earth and Planetary Sciences

Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences

First Committee Member (Chair)

George Richmond Clark

Second Committee Member

Albert Masakiyo Kudo

Third Committee Member

Roger Yates Anderson



Document Type


Included in

Geology Commons