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Introduction and summary: Chlorinated hydrocarbons as a factor in the reproduction and survival of lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) in Lake Michigan

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Abstract

Although lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) were considered extinct in Lake Michigan by the mid 1950's, control of the parasitic sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) and extensive restocking resulted in an abundance of hatchery-produced lake trout in the lake by the early 1970's. However, no naturally produced yearling or older lake trout have been found in the lake during nearly a decade of assessment sampling. Among the numerous hypotheses proposed to account for this apparent reproductive failure of the planted lake trout, a frequently suggested cause is the well-documented contamination of the fish by toxic substances such as DDT and its metabolites, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB's) at concentrations reported as adversely affecting the hatching of eggs and survival of larval fish. However, manually stripped and fertilized eggs of Lake Michigan lake trout have hatched successfully and the fry have survived normally under a variety of hatchery conditions. This observation led to studies at the Great Lakes Fishery Laboratory on the performance and survival of fry hatched from eggs of Lake Michigan lake trout and exposed for 6 months to PCB's (Aroclor 1254) and DDE at concentrations similar to those present in offshore waters and zooplankton of Lake Michigan (10.0 ng/L PCB's and 1.0 ng/L DDE in water; 1.0 μg/g PCB's and 0.1 μg/g DDE in food), and at concentrations 5 and 25 times higher. Cumulative mortality of the fry exposed to simulated Lake Michigan levels of PCB's and DDE for 6 months was 40.7% — nearly twice that of unexposed (control) fry — and mortality at the highest exposure level was 46.5%. Evaluation of the growth, swimming performance, predator avoidance, temperature preference, and metabolism of the fry showed no significant effects attributable to exposure to PCB's and DDE, except for a lowering of preferred temperature at the highest (25x) exposures (the only concentration tested) to each contaminant and (additively) both contaminants combined. Although several factors have undoubtedly contributed to the lack of recruitment of naturally produced lake trout in Lake Michigan, the levels of PCB's and DDE present during the early to mid 1970's were sufficient to significantly reduce survival of any fry produced in the lake and thereby impede restoration of the lake trout population to self-sustainability. The added exposure of the fry to other toxic substances known to be present in the lake could have further reduced survival.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Introduction and summary: Chlorinated hydrocarbons as a factor in the reproduction and survival of lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) in Lake Michigan
Year Published 1981
Language English
Publisher U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
Description 7 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title Chlorinated hydrocarbons as a factor in the reproduction and survival of lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) in Lake Michigan
First page 1
Last page 7
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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