Undergraduate Honors Thesis Projects

Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type

Honors Paper

Degree Name



Biology & Earth Science


Dr. Michael A Hoggarth

First Committee Member

Dr. Sarah Bouchard

Second Committee Member

Dr. Karen Steigman


Biodiversity, Freshwater Mussels, Community, Little Miami River

Subject Categories

Biodiversity | Biology | Environmental Health | Higher Education | Marine Biology


Understanding the changes in biodiversity and local freshwater mussel populations is critical to mitigate the risks to these populations. Freshwater ecosystems continue to degrade rapidly. The freshwater mussel community of the Little Miami River is degraded and has been in decline for many years. The biodiversity contained within freshwater ecosystems is lost at unprecedented rates influenced by human activity. Freshwater mussels play a key role in understanding the effects of human activity on freshwater ecosystems as well as maintaining the health of freshwater habitats. However, they are also sensitive to changes and disturbances, in their ecosystems. This study involved monitoring and recording changes in the presence and biodiversity of freshwater mussel species in the Little Miami River by combining previous and new research. Quadrat and general collecting were used to find and record the mussel populations. There was a significant decrease in the total number of individuals between 1990 (131.842 individuals) and 2005 (34.842 individuals), F=8.2333, p