Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Haffner, D.


Environmental Sciences.




Bioavailability and biomagnification of organochlorinated chemicals were investigated in Great Lakes fish communities. A novel instrument, based on the principle of gas sparging was constructed to measure the freely dissolved concentrations of organic chemicals in water. Field tests of this instrument indicated that freely dissolved chemical concentrations in water were similar to total chemical concentrations for chemicals with log $\rm K\sb{ow}\leq6.3.$ Both total and freely dissolved chemical concentrations in water explained bioconcentration of low $\rm K\sb{ow}$ chemicals (log $\rm K\sb{ow}\leq6.3)$ in field deployed goldfish. Sorption of chemicals to DOM and POM increased with $\rm K\sb{ow}.$ Neither dissolved nor total chemical concentrations accounted for the observed bioconcentration of high $\rm K\sb{ow}$ chemicals (log $\rm K\sb{ow}>6.3)$ where sorption and biomagnification were important factors in the accumulation of high $\rm K\sb{ow}$ chemicals. A mechanism of biomagnification was investigated where the absorption of dietary lipid in the intestine resulted in a thermodynamic gradient in the intestinal content. This gradient was responsible for biomagnification of high $\rm K\sb{ow}$ chemicals (log $\rm K\sb{ow}>6.3)$ but there was no biomagnification of low $\rm K\sb{ow}$ chemicals. Detailed feeding relationships were determined for a fish community and compared to chemically ordinated component scores plotted in 2D component space. Fish diets closely predicted chemically ordinated scores indicating that the feeding ecology of fish was important in the accumulation of organic chemicals. Lipid relationships in this community showed no relationship to fish size or trophic position. It was determined that biomagnification was responsible for accumulation of high $\rm K\sb{ow}$ chemicals in this community and equilibrium partitioning was responsible for the accumulation of low $\rm K\sb{ow}$ chemicals. Trophic transfer of organic chemicals was determined for 3 foodwebs along the Huron-Erie corridor. Patterns of chemical accumulation were similar in all 3 foodwebs. Biomagnification occurred with high $\rm K\sb{ow}$ chemicals in all 3 foodwebs. When tested against an equilibrium partitioning hypothesis, significant biomagnification was found in the large piscivorous fish. This series of experiments conclude that biomagnification and dietary accumulation of chemicals dominated accumulation of high $\rm K\sb{ow}$ chemicals in fish while passive partitioning of chemical from water determined the accumulation of low $\rm K\sb{ow}$ chemicals.Dept. of Biological Sciences. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1996 .R87. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 57-07, Section: B, page: 4276. Adviser: G. D. Haffner. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1996.