Erin Reidy

Date of Award


Document Type



Environmental and Forest Biology

Thesis Advisor

Gordon Paterson


New York Finger Lakes, contaminated fish, pollution


Studies examining the extent of pollutant bioaccumulation in freshwater food webs often only focus on the extent of contamination of top predator fish species. In this study, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) concentrations and lipid contents were measured in Keuka Lake bulk zooplankton, zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha), and freshwater mysid shrimp (Mysis diluviana) in order to evaluate bioaccumulation patterns among these lower trophic level species. Average lipid contents of samples were 1.4, 0.5 and 4.2% (wet wt.) for zooplankton, zebra mussels and mysid shrimp, respectively. A total of 41different PCB congeners were quantified with mysid shrimp samples having the highest wet weight sum PCB concentrations (mean = 205.7 ng/g wet wt.) and zebra mussels had the highest lipid weight adjusted sum PCB concentrations (mean = 30,856 ng/g lipid wt.). Zooplankton generally had the lowest PCB concentrations among the biota sampled. The major contributors to PCB contamination were PCB #138 and PCB #153 for all three species. There was a positive correlation found between PCB congener hydrophobicity (log KOW) and their degree of biomagnification in zebra mussels and mysid shrimp. Biomagnification factors averaged 1.2 and 7.2 for mysid shrimp and zebra mussels, respectively. These results showed that PCBs are biomagnifying in lower trophic levels of aquatic food chains, which increases the risks of PCB exposure to upper trophic levels in these food webs.