Document Type


Date of Award



College of Science, Engineering, and Technology (COSET)

Degree Name

MS in Biology

First Advisor

Professor Joseph Jones


Trace metal concentration in natural waters depends on the location of the water site. Studies have shown that water sites that are closer to industrial waste dumping sites, agricultural farms, heavily populated areas and construction sites have a higher concentration of trace metals (1, 2). Aquatic organisms in these areas will also have a higher concentration of these metals (1, 2). The Concentration of lead, zinc and cadmium in water from sites in the urban areas will be lower than that in waters from rural areas (1,2). The purpose of this study is to determine the concentrations oftrace metals in Houston and Galveston area waters and aquatic biota. In this study, seven sites were chosen as water and biota sampling sites. These sites were a Galveston Bay Marsh, Galveston Bay, Trinity River, San Jacinto River, Lake Houston, and two sampling sites at Sheldon Reservoir. The same procedure was used on each sample collected. All samples were collected 2 from the seven collection sites and kept in plastic bags. Upon returning to the laboratory the samples were placed in the freezer. Freezing the samples facilitated handling and kept the samples intact. The water samples were representative ofthe water source and free of any foreign matter that was introduced during collection. Each water sample was allowed to fill the collecting container several times so that it was rinsed adequately. Each container was filled to overflowing and the cap affixed securely to eliminate air bubbles. Surface water samples were collected in sterile tissue culture flasks. All samples were collected during the period of March through June 1996. A La Motte portable water pollution detection outfit was used to measure alkalinity, chloride, chlorine, nitrates, pH, phosphorous, salinity, sulfide, calcium hardness, magnesium hardness and total hardness. This kit uses one of two typical chemical test methods: colorimetric comparison with standards of known value or titration of samples with solutions of known value. Trace metal analysis of water and aquatic biota samples were completed using a Perking Elmer Plasma 40 Atomic Emission Spectrometer