Author Information

Edward Kelliher


Fluctuating asymmetry (FA), or subtle random deviations from perfect bilateral symmetry, has recently become a useful tool in allowing researchers to understand more about an organism's health, fitness, developmental stability and environmental stressors. Ultimately, FA studies can be used as an indirect measurement of the quality of an aquatic system over time. We measured and examined the femur segments of the larval damselfly, Calopteryx maculata from sites on the Town, Hockomock, and Salisbury Plain Rivers, of Plymouth County, Massachusetts to determine FA levels. After accounting for measurement error, preliminary results show that variations in symmetry are not correlated to individual trait size. Also, the Hockomock River site showed FA levels thee times higher than the Salisbury Plain river, and twice that of the Town River. Finally, severe femur deformation of some individuals at all sites suggests that other, more serious developmental or environmental factors may be inhibiting normal development. Results from a simple two-way ANOVA of differences in right and left femur segments and a KolmogorovSmirnov test for normality strongly suggest that the first femur of C. maculata is a useful trait for FA measurement.

Note on the Author

Edward Kelliher is a senior majoring in Environmental Biology and minoring in Chemistry. He is originally from Bridgewater, MA. He presented this paper at the 2004 BSC Environmental Symposium, NCUR, and NEC Conferences. He is currently studying at Acadia University under a Killam Fellowship and hopes to pursue graduate study in Marine Biology/ Oceanography.

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