Department Chair

Gregory J. Wadsworth, Ph.D., Chair and Associate Professor of Biology

Date of Award


Access Control

Campus-Only Access

Degree Name

Biology, M.A.


Biology Department


Alexander Karatayev, Ph.D. Director and Professor

Department Home page

First Reader

Alexander Karatayev, Ph.D. Director and Professor

Second Reader

Lyubov Burlakova, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Biology

Third Reader

Christopher M. Pennuto, Ph.D. Professor of Biology


The purpose of this study was to empirically determine weight-to-weight conversion factors for comparing dreissenid biomass datasets. Historically different methods such as measuring wet weight on site and freezing, drying, or combusting samples before weighing them have been used to determine biomass. I found weight-to-weight conversion factors for each of these methods and assessed how certain factors, like mussel size, season, location, depth, and dreissenid species, may affect these conversion factors. Conversion factors for drying and combustion methods varied with season, by about 6% of initial total weight wet, due to changes in mussel body weight associated with reproductive phase. There was no significant difference between conversion factors for mussel species or location for drying or combustion methods suggesting that one conversion factor will suffice for both species. However freezing dreissenid mussels for three weeks significantly affected their total wet weight measurements. The amount of weight lost by freezing varied by mussel length; the largest mussels tested (>20mm) lost, on average, 24% of their initial total wet weight, whereas the smallest mussels lost 45% (5-10 mm) of their initial total wet weight. I did not find a significant difference between conversion factors for any method between locations.

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