Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis


Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research




This thesis quantified elimination rate coefficient (' ktot') variability for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in a common mussel biomonitor ('Elliptio complanata'). ' ktot' is used to estimate steady state contaminant concentrations in mussel tissue ('Cm(ss)'), a surrogate for what is bioavailable in the water to other organisms. Chapter 2 showed that temperature had a weak influence on 'ktot', but generally increased it between 14, 20, and 25 C in the laboratory. The suitability of environmentally rare performance reference compound (PRC) PCBs as representative of elimination by the more prevalent Aroclors was also verified. Chapter 3 revealed the necessity of using PRC PCBS to quantify 'in situ ktot' values for mussel biomonitors, demonstrated errors associated with using laboratory-derived ' ktot' values to calculate 'Cm(ss)', and revealed spatial patterns of PCB contamination in the Huron-Erie Corridor. Characteristics of food quantity and quality are thought to explain more ' in situ ktot' variability, and lab-'in situ' differences.