Document Type



Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor's Name

Dr. Todd Crowl

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Dr. Philip Stoddard

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Dr. Gary Rand

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member


copper, behavior, swimming performance, metals, predator-prey interactions, Ucrit, locomotory, sailfin mollies

Date of Defense



This study determined the effects of the copper water quality criterion (WQC) by the EPA on [1] swimming performance and [2] predator-prey interactions of the Sailfin Molly, across a salinity gradient. Fish acclimated to FW (0 ppt) and 8-ppt saltwater were exposed to 11.3 and 8.44 µg/L Cu for 96 h, respectively. At the end of the exposures, fish swimming performance was determined by using the critical swimming speed, Ucrit, the speed at which a fish cannot longer maintain position in the water column. Ucritwas then measured again after a 4-week depuration period to determine if the fish were able to perform as well as control fish. Fish tissues were not analyzed for these experiments; therefore, the 4-week depuration period is hypothetical. In a separate study, mollies were presented with a predator model and isolated chemical cues of predation, then tested for predator avoidance behaviors. Copper exposures had opposite effects on visual and chemical cues. It was found that adverse effects of copper have the potential to harm fish populations.





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