Freshwater Bivalves: the Sherlock Holmes of Bioaccumulation


  • Katie Rueff
  • Lauren Koban
  • Dr. Amy E. Fowler



This research explores current literature related to bioaccumulation field studies using freshwater bivalves, both native and invasive species, as indicators for chemical contaminants and highlights research gaps, ending with a call for future research directions. The literature analyzed relies on bioaccumulation, a type of biomonitoring that relies on morphological and behavior observation and biochemical alterations to assess environmental changes.  For this study, only field studies of freshwater bivalves with bioaccumulation or trophic magnification factors were considered to reflect uptake from the diet as well as the environment. While bivalves have been used as bioindicators for pathogens and various pollutants in marine water, studies with bivalves in freshwater ecosystems are not only limited but often isolated to specific pockets of the world and an insufficient range of chemicals and species. As this literature review concludes, the ability of bivalves to bioaccumulate at lower concentrations indicates the powerful role they could play in assessing environmental threats.





College of Science: Department of Environmental Science and Policy