We analyzed 73 eels, collected in 2004 and 2005 above the head of tide in six Hudson River tributaries, for total PCBs, length, weight, age, and nitrogen stable isotope ratios (??15N). Mean total PCB concentration (wet weight basis) was 0.23 ppm ?? 0.08 (standard error), with a range of 0.008 to 5.4 ppm. A majority of eels (84) had concentrations below 0.25 ppm, and only seven eels (10%) had concentrations exceeding 0.5 ppm. Those eels with higher PCB concentrations were ???12 yr; there was a weak correlation of PCB concentration with ??15N and also with weight. Compared to recent (2003) data from the mainstem of the Hudson River estuary, these results indicate that tributaries are generally much less contaminated with PCBs. We hypothesize that those tributary eels with high PCB concentrations were relatively recent immigrants from the mainstem. Given concern over the possible adverse effects of PCBs on eel reproduction, these tributaries may serve as refugia. Therefore, providing improved access to upland tributaries may be critically important to this species. ?? 2008 Northeastern Naturalist.
Additional publication details
Low PCB concentrations observed in American eel (Anguilla rostrata) in six Hudson River tributaries