Date of Award

Summer 2021

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Environmental Health Sciences

First Advisor

Jamie R. Lead


Nanoscience and nanotechnology have gained attention in the last 20 - 30 years. Manufactured nanoparticles (NPs), which are defined as having at least one dimension between 1 and 100 nm, are the main products of nanotechnology. Nanoscale materials often have novel properties due to their size and this has made them so attractive for a range of processes and sectors. These attractive properties have enhanced their use in a wide range of consumer products and applications including electronic, biomedical, and pharmaceutical. The overall objective of this dissertation was: 1) to investigate the transformation of well-characterized AgNPs, at environmentally relevant concentrations (1-100 μgL-1) in complex media, primarily seawater, and 2): to quantify the accumulation, and toxicity AgNPs to juvenile bivalve’s mollusc hard clam Mercanria mercenaria. Literature searches to understand the relationship between NP properties and biological effects revealed that there was a lack of data leading to substantial uncertainty about their risk, including their fate, behavior and toxicity AgNPs to clams species. The majority of these studies were performed in concentration ranges higher than environmental concentrations. However, some studies showed that smaller sized NPs have more biological influence and toxicity, likely due to their ability to be up-taken and translocate more rapidly, and depurate more slowly, than larger particles.