Faculty Advisor

Buckholt, Michael Allan

Faculty Advisor

Mathews, Lauren M

Faculty Advisor

Whitefleet-Smith, JoAnn L.


Benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P), a PAH, has been identified as a potential carcinogen. It enters the environment as a result of industrial emissions, is deposited in the watershed, and is biomagnified in animals living in contaminated waterways. B[a]P was extracted from sediment and crayfish tissues from a Blackstone Valley streambed, and GC was used to quantify contamination levels. Comparisons of B[a]P concentrations at different points suggested deposition patterns of B[a]P from a point source in a stream, and showed the most relevant test points for future research. Gut analysis of crayfishes showed that those living in the stream eat sediment. Levels of B[a]P detected in muscle tissue suggest that bioaccumulation occurs in crayfish, and supports the use of crayfish as a bioindicator.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

April 2008


Biology and Biotechnology

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Biology and Biotechnology

Advisor Department