Date of Award





Master of Science

First Advisor

Elizabeth Klar

Second Advisor

Daniel Holt

Third Advisor

Kathleen hughes


The health of Largemouth bass from west-central Georgia was assessed using liver histopathology and the degree of tissue change index (DTC), hepatosomatic indices (HSI), relative weight, condition factors, and intersex. These health parameters as well as water chemistry data were compared across four bodies of water, three within the Chattahoochee watershed, and one pseudo-control located in the Flint watershed. Fish from Lake Oliver, Lake Harding, and West Point Lake had severely impacted liver health compared to Warm Springs National Fish Hatchery, with DTC rankings over 100 for the three lakes within the Chattahoochee watershed, demonstrating severely damaged livers. There was a significant difference between the hepatosomatic index and condition factor for fish when grouped into either high (>100) DTC or low (< 58) DTC categories, but not for relative weight. DTC scores between males and females in the study showed no significant difference. Males who had intersex had significantly higher DTC averages. Water chemistry analysis found 12 compounds that are known endocrine disruptors that can cause liver damage, including several types of phthalates in the Chattahoochee Watershed.

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