We determined polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) concentrations in 35 female coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) and 60 male coho salmon caught in Lake Michigan (Michigan and Wisconsin, United States) during the fall of 1994 and 1995. In addition, we determined PCB concentrations in the skin-on fillets of 26 female and 19 male Lake Michigan coho salmon caught during the fall of 2004 and 2006. All coho salmon were age-2 fish. These fish were caught prior to spawning, and therefore release of eggs could not account for sexual differences in PCB concentrations because female coho salmon spawn only once during their lifetime. To investigate whether gross growth efficiency (GGE) differed between the sexes, we applied bioenergetics modeling. Results showed that, on average, males were 19% higher in PCB concentration than females, based on the 1994–1995 dataset. Similarly, males averaged a 20% higher PCB concentration in their skin-on fillets compared with females. According to the bioenergetics modeling results, GGE of adult females was less than 1% higher than adult male GGE. Thus, bioenergetics modeling could not explain the 20% higher PCB concentration exhibited by the males. Nonetheless, a sexual difference in GGE remained a plausible explanation for the sexual difference in PCB concentrations.
Additional publication details
Sexual difference in PCB concentrations of coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch)