In April through October 1986, we sampled sediments and populations of nymphs of the burrowing mayfly, Hexagenia limbata (Serville), at 11 locations through the connecting channels of the upper Great Lakes, to determine if sediment contaminants adversely affected nymph production. Production over this period was high at the five locations where measured sedimment levels of oil, cyanide, and six metals were below the threshold criteria of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Ontario Ministry of Environment for contaminated or polluted sediments, and also where the criterion for visible oil given in the Water Quality Agreement between the U.S.A. and Canada for connecting waters of the Great Lakes was not exceeded. At the other six locations where sediments were polluted, prodiction was markedly lower. This finding is significant because it indicates that existing sediment quality criteria can be applied to protect H. limbata from oil, Cyanide, and metals in the Great Lakes and connecting channels where the species fulfills a major role in secondary production and trophic transfer of energy.
Additional publication details
Production of Hexagenia limbata nymphs in contaminated sediments in the Upper Great Lakes connecting channels