Faculty Advisor

Tyler, Jeffrey A.


Over 80% of the lakes located within the Adirondacks have a weakened capacity to neutralize acidity resulting in decreased fish populations and fishless lakes. At even slight changes in acidity, organisms such as algae, zooplankton, and aquatic insects which shape the bottom of the aquatic food chain decrease in number. This project seeks to indirectly examine the effects of acidity on the growth and development of bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) by restricting food consumption and measuring growth, respiration and RNA:DNA ratios. The bluegill were divided into three groups each receiving a feeding regime of full Food, Half Food, or Quarter Food and the respiration and RNA:DNA ratios were measured throughout a two week time frame. Through experimentation, no conclusive correlation is made between fish weight and respiration or fish weight and RNA:DNA ratios. However, we suspect that if we allow the fish to grow under restricted food conditions for a longer period of time, we may be able to detect a decrease in respiration rates and in RNA:DNA ratios for fish receiving lower food levels.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

January 2002



Project Type

Major Qualifying Project


Restricted-WPI community only

Advisor Department

Biology and Biotechnology