Several physiological responses have been used to evaluate the effects of contaminants on marine bivalves. Respiration rate, food clearance rate, ammonia excretion rate, and food assimilation efficiency can be quantified and incorporated into a bioenergetics model known as scope for growth. This model estimates an organism's instantaneous energy budget and quantifies the available energy for growth and reproduction. We applied some of these physiological techniques to freshwater mussels to determine the sublethal effects of cadmium. The objective of our study was to quantify the physiological responses of adult pocketbook mussels, Lampsilis ventricosa , exposed to sublethal concentrations of cadmium. We selected L. ventricosa for study because it is abundant in the upper Mississippi River and its life history has been partially documented.