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Trace elements in freshwater bivalve shells as records of water quality

A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.

Details

Academic background
Sciences
Host campus
Dunedin
Qualifications
Honours, Master’s
Department
Geology
Supervisor
Dr Candace Martin

Overview

A key uncertainty in water quality assessment is establishing a natural baseline. The carbonate shells of freshwater bivalves should reflect the composition of the water from which they precipitate. High spatial resolution analysis of trace elements in fossil shells could therefore provide a time series record of past water compositions and hence a natural baseline.

This project will analyze trace elements in water and shells from living mussels (kakahi, E. menziesii) from a variety of locations to test this proposition. If reproducible data can be obtained from modern examples, then fossil shells will be examined as well.

Recommended preparation: GEOL262/362 and GEOL272/372 or equivalent.

Geology_Bivalve_Chemistry Shellfish image
Three carbonate shells of freshwater bivalves.

Contact

Candace Martin
Email   candace.martin@otago.ac.nz