Physiological Anomalies in the Bullhead of the Cuyahoga River and Killbuck Creek

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Name: Damien Jouriles
Major: Biology
Minor: Classical Languages (Latin)
Advisor: Dr. R. Williams
Second Reader: Dr. S Kelly

Physiological biomarkers are an important but underused aspect of monitoring for aquatic ecosystem health and pollution. In this study, brown and yellow bullhead (Ameiurus nebulosus and Ameiurus natalis) were captured from three sites. One site located on the Cuyahoga River ship channel in Cleveland, Ohio, and two sites located on Killbuck Creek in Wooster, Ohio. Of the two locations on Killbuck Creek, one was contaminated, being located directly down stream of a wastewater treatment plant (WTP), the second was a reference site, located 2.5 miles upstream of that contaminated site. All fish taken were examined for external abnormalities, as defined by the Field Manual for Assessing Internal and External Anomalies in Brown Bullhead(Ameiurus Nebulosus) and the Illustrated Field Guide for Assessing External and Internal Anomalies in Fish. Yellow bullhead were then released, while brown bullhead were euthanized via pithing and examined internally. On average, each fish had 5.94 abnormalities (n=16), the fish from the Cuyahoga ship channel had 6.27 abnormalities (n=11), the fish from the contaminated Wooster site had 6.25 abnormalities (n=4), and the fish from the Wooster reference site had 1 abnormality (n=1). In the non-reference sites, some signs of acarcinogenic environment were observed, along with evidence of an epidemic of fin-rot, likely caused by poor water quality and bacterial infection. Based on this, further investigation into how prevalent these abnormalities are, what may be causing them, and how they may be remedied is recommended.

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Posted in Comments Enabled, Independent Study, Symposium 2022.

2 responses to “Physiological Anomalies in the Bullhead of the Cuyahoga River and Killbuck Creek”

  1. Rebecca Williams says:

    Great work Damien! So proud of you, the challenges you overcame, and your hard work.

  2. Rick Lehtinen says:

    Nice job Damien – nice to see this come to fruition!