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Ohio Sea Grant College Program
and Stone Laboratory

Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory

Contribution of the Zebra Mussel to Contaminant Cycling in the Great Lakes

Project Number: R/PS-006-PD, Completion Report

Start Date: 4/1/1990

Completion Date: 12/31/1990

Revision Date: 3/8/2012

Principal Investigator(s)1.Susan Fisher, College of Biological Sciences The Ohio State University*
Co-Principal Investigator(s)2.Paul C. Baumann, Natural Resources The Ohio State University*
This shows the current affiliation and may not match affiliation at time of participation. *

Objectives

Several general hypotheses will be tested. These include the assertion that zebra mussel will bioconcentrate or bioaccumulate PCBs and PAHs when exposed to contaminated media; that unassimilated material will be deposited into pseudofeces in significant levels; that benthos can accumulate significant levels of PVBs and PAHs by ingesting contaminated pseudofeces. Specific objectives are the following:
To determine kinetically the accumulation of 4 hydrophobic contaminants (benzo(a)pyrene, phenanthrene and 2 hexachlorobiphenyls) in adult zebra mussels;
To evaluate the relative rates of accumulation when the contaminants are sorbed directly from water vs when they are assimilated from phytoplankton or suspended sediment;
To determine the relative amounts of partitioning into feces and pseudofeces via the previously described modes of administration;
To measure the accumulation of PCBs and PAHs by the benthic contaminated feces/pseudofeces.

Rationale

Although much attention has been focused on the potential for zebra mussel to act as biofouling agents and to disrupt phytoplankton distributions, little attention has been paid to its probable capacity to direct the disposition of toxic chemicals in the Great Lakes. We believe that this potential includes not only the ability to concentrate toxins from a variety of media (e.g. water, sediment and phytoplankton) but also to redistribute hydrophobic contaminants from the latter media to benthic foodchains via deposition in pseudofeces. Thus, a major impact zebra mussels on toxic materials could be to redirect toxins from the water column to the benthic environment. This propensity is accentuated by the tremendous filtering capacity of the animal and its proclivity for occupying environments which are likely to be contaminated. The zebra mussel thus represents a unique opportunity to examine the interplay between biota and the physical environment in determining the distribution of toxic materials in the Great Lakes. The proposed research will describe quantitatively the ability of the zebra mussel to accumulate hydrophobic contaminants from different media, the assimilation efficiency of 2 PCBs and 2 PAHs into the zebra mussel, the residues which remain in the pseudofeces and the ability of benthos to accumulate toxins from contaminated pseudofeces. The research will thus provide major insight towards understanding the impact of the zebra mussel in the Great Lakes.

Benefits & Accomplishments

  • Performed basic toxicokinetic measurements of hydrophobic contaminants using the zebra mussel
  • Developed methods for conducting toxicokinetic experiments with the zebra mussel
  • Developed methods for culturing zebra mussels for use in experiments
  • Established a collaborative relationship with Dr. Peter Landrum, NOAA to conduct parallel studies on zebra mussel toxicokinetics
  • Used data and methods as the basis for a federal grant from USEPA (R/ZM-11)

Publications & Media

Peer-reviewed reprints
Peer-reviewed reprintsFisher, S.W., D.C. Gossiaux, K.A. Bruner and P.F. Landrum. 1993, Investigation of the toxicokinetics of hydrophobic contaminants in the zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha Pallas
In: Zebra Mussels: Biology, Impact and Controls. T.F. Nalepa and D.W. Schloesser, eds., Lewis Publishers. Chelsea, MI. pp. 465-490. Made available by Ohio Sea Grant as OHSU-RS-160.
Peer-reviewed reprintsFisher, S.W. and D. Bernard. 1992, Methods for evaluating zebra mussel control products in laboratory and field studies
Journal of Shellfish Research 10(2):367-371, 1991. Made available by Ohio Sea Grant as OHSU-RS-150.
Peer-reviewed reprintsBruner, Kathleen A., Susan W. Fisher and Peter F. Landrum. 1994, The role of Zebra Mussel, Dreissena polymorpha, in concominant cycling: I. THe effect of body size and lipid content on the bioconcentration of PCBs and PAHs
Journal of Great Lakes Research 20(4): 725-734, 1994. Made avaiable by Ohio Sea Grant as OHSU-RS-186.
Peer-reviewed reprintsBruner, Kathleen A., Susan W. Fisher and Peter F. Landrum. 1994, The role of Zebra Mussel, Dreissena polymorpha, in concominant cycling: II. Zebra Mussel concominant accumulation from algae and suspended particles, and transfer to the benthic invertabrate, Gammarus fasciatus
Journal of Great Lakes Research 20(4): 735-750, 1994. Made available by Ohio Sea Grant as OHSU-RS-187.
Conference, symposia, or workshop proceedings, and summaries
Conference, symposia, or workshop proceedings, and summariesFisher, S.W. 1990, Control of the zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha
Annual Conference of Water Management. November 1990. Columbus, OH.
Conference, symposia, or workshop proceedings, and summariesFisher, S.W. 1991, Impact of the zebra mussel in North America
OSU-Department of Agronomy. May 1991. Columbus, OH.
Conference, symposia, or workshop proceedings, and summariesFisher, S.W. 1990, Prediction of pesticide fate in aquatic systems with sediment
North American Benthological Society. May 1990. Blacksburg, VA.
Conference, symposia, or workshop proceedings, and summariesFisher, S.W. 1991, The zebra mussel in Lake Erie: Prospects and prognoses
Department of Biology. Ohio Wesleyan University. September 1991. Delaware, OH.
Conference, symposia, or workshop proceedings, and summariesFisher, S.W. 1991, The zebra mussel in North America
OSU-Department of Biology. April 1991. Columbus, OH.
Conference, symposia, or workshop proceedings, and summariesFisher, S.W. 1991, The zebra mussel in North America: Adventures of the mussel from hell
Sigma Xi Lecture. Nalco Chemical Co. April 1991. Naperville, IL.
Conference, symposia, or workshop proceedings, and summariesFisher, S.W. 1991, Uptake of hydrophobic contaminants by the zebra mussel
Ohio Fish and Wildlife Conference. February 1991. Columbus, OH. (Winner of best paper award)
Theses, dissertations
Theses, dissertationsBargar, T.A. 1991, The effects of the molluscicide H-130 (didecyl-dimethyl-ammonium chloride) and bentonite clay upon Hexagenia limbata, Pimephelas promelas and Ceriodaphnia dubia
Made available on loan basis by Ohio Sea Grant (via National Sea Grant Depository) as OHSU-TD-048.

Related Twine Line Articles

PDF: Robin Taylor, Food: Knots in the Web, Kinks in the Chain - and a Twist
Spring 2005
PDF: Robin Taylor, Food: Knots in the Web, Kinks in the Chain - and a Twist
Spring 2005
PDF: Jill Jentes, Research Review: Zebra Mussels - Key to Contaminant Cycling
July - August 1999

Supported Students

StudentTimothy Bargar (Graduate, Ph.D.)
Clemson University
Dissertation Title: The effects of the molluscicide H-130 and bentonite clay upon Hexagenia limbata, Pimephelas promelas and Ceridaphnia dubia.