Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name





Physical Geography.


Lavalle, P. D.,




This thesis is an examination of toxic metal concentrations around three shipwrecks in the Western Basin of Lake Erie. These wrecks are densely populated with zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha). It was anticipated that the zebra mussels were a mechanism by which the toxic metals in the surrounding water were deposited on and around the shipwrecks. Utilizing scuba livers, thirty-six samples (twelve from each site) were gathered and chemically analysed. The results indicate that one of the shipwrecks under study, the Conemaugh, was statistically different from the other wrecks. This could be attributed to dissimilar environmental conditions at this site. Statistical analysis of the remaining data set revealed that the toxic metals under study were in fact concentrated on the shipwrecks, and decreased in concentration with increased distance from the wrecks. In several instances, available government standards for contaminated soil/sediment were exceeded by the observed toxic metal concentrations. As a result of the observed toxic metal concentrations, and the relevant literature, it could be concluded that the zebra mussels were the mechanism by which the toxic metals reached their observed elevated concentrations.Dept. of Geography. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1997 .B75. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 37-01, page: 0216. Adviser: P. D. Lavalle. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1997.