Date of Graduation

Spring 2010


Master of Science in Biology



Committee Chair

Daniel Beckman


fish, diversity, lead, zinc, mining

Subject Categories



The main objective of this thesis project was to determine if fish diversity and community integrity were associated with zinc and lead contamination in the Spring River Basin, southwest Missouri. Sampling sites were located in the Tri-State mining district where zinc and lead were once heavily mined, and from which zinc and lead contamination data were provided by the EPA. Fish were collected with an electroshocking device at 15 sites throughout the basin during June 2009 and identified on-site. Habitat data were also collected at each site. After fish identification was completed, the data were used to calculate an index of biotic integrity (IBI) using eleven metrics. Upon analysis of the IBI index, level of metals contamination, and habitat quality, several trends appeared. There was a direct correlation between zinc concentrations and lead contamination. There was no significant correlation between IBI score and lead and zinc concentrations. There was a strong correlation between increased lead and zinc concentrations and the loss of sensitive and benthic fish species.


© Bailey Stocker Pearson

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