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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Accumulation of atmospheric and sedimentary PCBs and toxaphene in a Lake Michigan food web.

Seston, sediment, settling organic matter, and food web members were collected from Grand Traverse Bay, Lake Michigan, between April 1997 and September 1998 to examine PCB and toxaphene biomagnification. Stable isotopes of nitrogen and carbon were analyzed in samples and used to establish trophic structure of the food web and to determine the importance of atmospheric versus sedimentary sources in delivering PCBs to the food web. Nitrogen isotopes were confounded by multiple variables in this system, particularly seasonal variation, and did not display a simple pattern of enrichment among trophic levels. However, delta13C displayed little seasonal variation and was positively correlated with PCB concentrations among food web members (r2 = 0.69). Plots of delta13C vs PCBs separate food web members into three distinct groupings comprised of invertebrates, primary forage fish, and predatory fish. Stable isotope values of the primary organic sources indicate that the atmosphere, and not the sediment, is the most likely source of PCBs to the food web of Lake Michigan. Additionally, we suggest that seston may be important in delivering PCBs to pelagic food web members and species that receive a majority of their nutrition through pelagic sources. In contrast, settling particles are implicated in delivering PCBs to benthic organisms and Mysis relicta.[1]


  1. Accumulation of atmospheric and sedimentary PCBs and toxaphene in a Lake Michigan food web. Stapleton, H.M., Masterson, C., Skubinna, J., Ostrom, P., Ostrom, N.E., Baker, J.E. Environ. Sci. Technol. (2001) [Pubmed]
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