Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name



Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Haffner, D.


Biology, Ecology.




The effects of zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha Pallas) on the dynamics of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in western Lake Erie are an important environmental concern because these chemicals are prevalent, persistent and proven to be harmful to humans and wildlife. The distribution of PCBs in the environment is related to ecosystem dynamics. Since invading western Lake Erie in 1988, zebra mussels have dramatically changed the ecosystem dynamics of the basin. The consequences of these changes on the distribution of PCBs in western Lake Erie biota were quantified by doing kinetic studies, field surveys and bioaccumulation modelling. Research determined that PCB accumulation in mussels is rapid, and steady-state with their environment is achieved within 70 days. For less hydrophobic congeners $\rm(log K\sb{OW}6.0),$ disequilibrium between diet and sediment primarily determines the extent of bioaccumulation. PCB congener concentrations in organisms whose diets have not changed with the invasion of mussels are predicted to increase marginally ($<$10%). These increases are due to the increase in freely-dissolved chemical resulting from the removal of particles from the water column by mussels. On the other hand, chemical concentrations in those organisms whose diets have changed, are predicted to have decreased considerably (1.5 to 59.6%). These decreases are attributed to a shift in diet away from more contaminated prey items such as burrowing benthic invertebrates and young-of-the-year fish to lesser contaminated zebra mussels and/or the benthic invertebrates associated with them. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 57-07, Section: B, page: 4163. Adviser: G. D. Haffner. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1996.