Department Chair

Dr. Daniel L. Potts

Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

Biology, M.A.


Biology Department


Dr. Alicia Pérez-Fuentetaja

Department Home page

First Reader

Dr. Alicia Pérez-Fuentetaja

Second Reader

Dr. Randal J. Snyder

Third Reader

Dr. I. Martha Skerrett


Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTP) are the main vector for pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs) to enter waterways. Many PPCPs are lipophilic, allowing them to bioaccumulate and biomagnify within aquatic organisms. PPCPs have been known to alter fish behavior and physiological processes, such as nesting defense and sex ratios, and produce an increase in deformities. Advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) are novel ways for treating WWTPs effluents that use hydroxyl radicals to indiscriminately breakdown PPCPs. In this study, fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) were used to examine the biological effects of AOP-treated municipal effluent as they developed from eggs to juveniles, in a 30-day life history test. During early life stages, there was a trend for heart rate to be lower in the Hydrogen peroxide/Ultraviolet light and WWTP Secondary effluent. Hatching success was not impacted. However, egg hatching occurred earlier in the Hydrogen peroxide/Ultraviolet light (H2O2), Peracetic Acid/Ultraviolet light (PAA), and Niagara River treatments compared to the Control, while eggs in the secondary effluent had a delayed hatching time. Larvae 12 and 13 days old were tested for predator avoidance using their C-start response, which was not different among treatments. At day 30, there was a significant difference in weight and length for fathead minnows raised in the H2O2 and PAA treatments which resulted in stunted growth at the juvenile stage. These results indicate that AOP-treated effluent can have an impact in the growth and development of larval fish near outflow areas and potentially affect their fitness in their adult life.