Graduation Year

2015

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

W.M. Keck Science Department

Second Department

Biology

Reader 1

Donald McFarlane

Reader 2

Elise Ferree

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2014 Vivian G. Pham

Abstract

Rivers all around the world have become increasingly polluted with heavy metals, largely due to industrialization and urbanization. Organisms exposed to high concentrations of heavy metals have shown evidence of biotoxicity and physical deformities. With biomagnification in mind, the possibility that this contamination may soon directly affect humans is a real concern, and policies in manufacturing industries worldwide may have to be reformed. In this study, we measured the concentrations of arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), nickel (Ni), and lead (Pb) in the Hatillo River and compared these values to those measured in the Tarcoles River, a highly polluted river, and Terciopelo Creek, a relatively clean river. The results showed that the Hatillo River had significantly lower levels of most detected heavy metals than both the Tarcoles and Terciopelo. Overall, sediments in all rivers showed high levels of heavy metal content--especially in chromium, copper, nickel, and lead--which could build up and affect organisms over a long period of time.

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